Sunday, 4 February 2018

Seeing in the New Year

I stirred from my bed at five o'clock this morning. Reason was because today is the start of the new Chinese luni-solar calendar, and I wanted to be up and about when the sun supposedly crossed the 315th degree celestial longitude into a new solar term at 5.30am. We term this occurrence as Li Chun (立春) or Jip Chun in Penang Baba Hokkien-speak.

Half-an-hour for me to get myself wide awake, but enough time for me to prepare a new piece of decorative red paper with the Chinese character 春 (Chun) for sticking onto the family rice bucket. I would also fill up the bucket to the brim with a new packet of rice to signify abundance. There's nothing religious about this practice at all. It's all very cultural and traditional.

Anyway, as I was mentioning earlier, Jip Chun signifies the start of a new year according to the luni-solar calendar. This is why many households here practice putting up red banner cloths across their main doorway on this day which is 12 days before the Chinese New Year festivities actually start on 16 Feb 2018.

As for me, I do not follow this trend as I would prefer to put up the red banner only after I have made my annual worship and offerings to my ancestors before the old year creeps out. This year, the worship will fall on 11th February. I shall carry out the worship in the morning and only then in the afternoon, will I be putting up the red banner.

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