This is the first week of Lent (purification, preparation) and according to the lunisolar calendar, the Chinese spring festival/Lunar New Year of 2015—Year of the Wood Sheep/Goat—falls on Thursday, Feb. 19. It’s a turning point year. We make something from seemingly nothing. Goats are mild mannered, shy, friendly and kindhearted, with delicate thoughts, strong creativity, and perseverance. Although gentle on the surface, they are strong and tough on the inside, with an inner resilience, excellent defense mechanisms and great professional skills.
Though goats prefer to be in groups, they shy away from attention. They’re reserved and quiet, reflecting on their own thoughts and ideas. Goats are fashionable, stylish. Goats are private. It may take time to get to know them. Goats seldom share personal lives, having only a select few intimate friends. Their friendship is peaceful and fulfilling, supporting, caring and working hard for loved ones.
While celebrating Chinese New Year, red—the color symbolizes joy, virtue, truth, sincerity—is everywhere. You’ll see red lanterns, couplets of good fortune on doors, and paintings of goats and dolls. Celebrations include setting off firecrackers at doorways morning and evening to scare away evil spirits; giving money to children (and to the poor) in red envelopes; honoring elders and ancestors; offering prayers to the Kitchen God/Stove (fire); preparing and sharing “lucky foods”—fish (wishing everyone wealth and prosperity); dumplings (or spring rolls filled with long white daikon threads for long life); rice balls (reunion, being together); noodles (longevity); oranges and tangerines (success); while also preparing for the Full Moon Lantern Festival (March 5). On altars are plum and quince blossoms and narcissus (beauty). Sunday, Feb. 22 is Washington’s birthday, and mine, too. Tithing first that day and then to the museum (Crystal Bridges).