Tonight is the start of the Chinese (Asian) New Year and the festivities surrounding it throughout Asiatic communities everywhere. 2014 is the Year of the Horse – the seventh of the twelve signs of the Chinese Zodiac.
Born Under the Sign of the Horse
People born in the years of the Horse years (2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918) are cheerful, fun loving, bright and popular. They attract many friends with their child-like innocence, happy nature and their natural charm. They love parties and find being surrounded by people and crowds exciting. Like the horse of their sign they are highly intuitive and follow their hunches. Often that keen judgment and intuition help them make the right decisions in life. Normally they don’t need to struggle in order to succeed and eagerly grasp the things life has to offer.
Horses are of a carefree nature and need room to give voice to their self expression. When hemmed in by rules a proud Horse rebels against being corralled or tamed. Horses are frank and will say exactly what they think. Last year, the year of the Snake, was the time for secrecy was, now is the time to be open and above board especially with family.
The most auspicious years for the the Horse are in those of their own sign and Tiger, Sheep, and Dog years. The Year of the Rat year is the least fortunate for Horse.
|When the Horse Arrives May Good Luck Come Also|
Fú Lù Shòu
Amongst the many customs of New Year’s – hui chun, dragon dances, fireworks, family reunions and special food – special attention is paid to the Three Deities of Fortune during this time of year.
Fú Lù Shòu is the Taoist concept of Good Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity. These three stars were considered the personification of the deities of these attributes of a good life. By tradition they are arrange with Fu to the right, Lu in the middle and Shou on the left. Statues of the three gods are found in nearly every Chinese home and many Chinese-owned shops. They are given place on small altars with a glass of water, an orange or other offerings, especially during Chinese New Year.
Their placement in a house or shop often depends on what is being sought by the person. They are always placed higher up in a room – a lower position is thought of as disrespectful.
- Placing the Three Wise Men in the Southwest helps you to bear a child.
- Placing them in the Western area will help to bring wealth and guard wealth from diminishing). The Fu Lu Shou placement here also brings joy and celebration to the home.
- Putting them in Northwest part of a room helps to bring the three good fortunes to the husband or father of the family.
- A place in the North of the house or room helps to bring creativity luck and wisdom.
It is derived from the planet Jupiter – a star that the ancient Chinese thought was in charge of agriculture. The Chinese astrology says that where there is the planet Jupiter shining, the people will have good luck and fortune. Another story links the Fu Star with Yang Cheng, a governor of Daozhou who wrote a missive to the Emperor ask that his people be exempt from a onerous special tribute. He request was granted and in thanks for this act a temple was built to him as the personification of good fortune.
Fu is often depicted in a scholar’s robe, carrying a baby boy and holding a scroll. The scroll is 家谱 jia pu, a record of a clan’s history and lineage. This symbolizes harmony in the family. A fortunate man. In Chinese culture, you are also considered lucky if you have a male offspring (to continue the family surname). A happy man indeed.
This is Ursa Majoris or the Great Bear, the sixth star in the Wenchang of traditional Chinese astronomy. The Lu star is believed to be Zhang Xian a court official who lived during the Later Shu dynasty. For this reason the statue is always dressed in the expensive robes of a mandarin. He also holds a ceremonial scepter known as 如意 ru yi symbolizing power and good fortune. As a mandarin he is considered wealthy (lu specifically refers to the salary of a government official). As such, the Lu star is the star of prosperity, rank, and influence.
The Lu star was also worshipped separately from the other two as the deity dictating one’s success in the Imperial Examinations, and therefore success in the imperial bureaucracy. Once that position had been attained prosperity was almost certain.
This is the Antartic Canopus star, or the South Pole star. In Chinese astronomy it is known as the Old Man Star. According to legend Shou was carried in his mother’s womb for ten years and was already an old man when born. He is always pictured as smiling and friendly, has a long white flowing beard and a high, domed forehead. He leans on his staff for support in his old age and always carries with him the Peach of Immortality.
Longevity is wise, knowledgeable and if called up could rule the world. At major festivals he is worshipped in thanks for granting the elders in the family a long life. The Shou star brings a ‘long and fruitful life.
So as we approach the Year of the Horse may the Three Wise Men give you Happiness, Good Luck, Prosperity and Longevity.
Gung Ha Fat Choy – Gong Xi Fa Cai