Happy Chinese New Year of the Goat: Celebrate and Make Mandalas
In fact different cultures celebrate the “new” year at different times of the year. For example, Jewish and Chumash celebrate the new year at the Fall Equinox. (Baseball players celebrate the New Year during the first week of April.)
Many Asian cultures, on the other hand, recognize the new year in connection with the moon, and winter solstice: Chinese New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. That’s why the date changes every year.
A monk at An Lac Buddhist Temple in Ventura this morning told me the red flowers are for long life and the pink cherry blossoms are for good luck. The statue is Guan Yin who I wrote about yesterday.
We had a full moon Jan.4 and another Feb. 4, so in 2015 the “Chinese New Year” is Thurs. February 19 when we have the second new moon. Traditions include cleaning the house to sweep away ill-fortune and make way for good incoming luck, decorating windows and doors with red color paper-cuts, lighting firecrackers, and giving money in red paper envelopes. Cleaning the altar and prayers are also important elements.
Feb. 19, 2015 is the beginning of the Year of the Goat, Sheep or Ram: “In Chinese astrology Goats are described as loving-peace and “kind” and “popular”. With the addition of the wood element, the Goat characteristic is thought to love peace and to be helpful and trusting, but yet also to be “clinging” and of a nature resistant to change.,” says Wikipedia.
According to Wikipedia, “The most common auspicious greetings and sayings consist of four characters, such as the following:
- 金玉滿堂 Jīnyùmǎntáng – “May your wealth [gold and jade] come to fill a hall”
- 大展鴻圖 Dàzhǎnhóngtú – “May you realize your ambitions”
- 迎春接福 Yíngchúnjiēfú – “Greet the New Year and encounter happiness”
- 萬事如意 Wànshìrúyì – “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
- 吉慶有餘 Jíqìngyǒuyú – “May your happiness be without limit”
- 竹報平安 Zhúbàopíng’ān – “May you hear [in a letter] that all is well”
- 一本萬利 Yīběnwànlì – “May a small investment bring ten-thousandfold profits”
- 福壽雙全 Fúshòushuāngquán – “May your happiness and longevity be complete”
- 招財進寶 Zhāocáijìnbǎo – “When wealth is acquired, precious objects follow”
You can find plenty of places to practice these phrases if you look a bit for Buddhist Temples, Asian community centers, and more. And it’s even easier with these events in the next few weeks around the new year.
NEW YEAR’S EVE BLESSINGS: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 6-midnight
Thursday, February 19, 2015: New Year Ceremony 10am-8pm
Friday, February 20,2015: 2nd day of the New Year 5-8pm
Saturday, February 21, 2015: 3rd day of the Year events 10am-8pm
Thursday March 05, 2015: New Moon 5-8pm
Sunday, March 08, 2015 : Pilgrimage to various area temples
The Tibetan New Year is called Losar and this year it is the same time as the first anniversary of the Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio at the Channel Islands Harbor, 2810 South Harbor Boulevard #201, CA , USA. A number of events are scheduled.
Film Night. 24 hours with the Dalai Lama Thur, Feb 19, 7pm
Ever wonder how the Dalai Lama spends his days? Spend Tibetan New Year’s with the Dalai Lama and get an intimate glimpse into His Holiness’ daily life, plus a “wide-ranging interview covering topics related to the essence of the Universe, the gap between rich and poor, and the role of the individual in religion and contemporary society.” Please RSVP. Space is very limited.
Next is an open house and anniversary party with traditional prayers and a toast to the new year on Saturday, Feb 21 at the Studio from 10-4pm.
Then on Sunday join an intro to mandala workshop with Kalsang Dawa, a traditional Tibetan Thangka painter born and raised in Lhasa but now based in Vancouver. He will share insights into the spirituality underlying his craft for the first time in southern California during two events over two weekends in the later part of February. Kalsang’s personal path and diverse cultural experiences have deepened his sensitivity as an artist, a teacher, and an observer of human beings.”
Kalsang is offering two special workshops at the Threads of Awakening Studio located on the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, CA:
- A Sunday afternoon introductory seminar on February 22
- A 3-Day workshop Friday thru Sunday on February 27 thru March 1.
Organizer Leslie Rinchen Wongmo says “Spend three days at the end of this month exploring your inner mandala — a map of the universe, a map of your heart — and expressing it in color, preparing your own painting surface and grinding stone pigments to create your own paint, like Tibetan thangka painters have for centuries.”
UPDATE 2/10: Workshop cancelled due to underenrollment. So sad! Maybe another time?