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Celebrating the Lunar New Year: Optimizing Your Luck for 2023

This coming Sunday, January 22, 2023 is the Chinese New Year! The New Year is centered around removing the bad and the old, and welcoming the new and the good.

This year we will be leaving behind the water tiger and celebrating the year of the water rabbit.

Of course, as we move into a new year, this means different opportunities and challenges for each of us.

So how can we each optimize the year in front of us?

For everyone, one way is to start by ringing in the new year right! Below you will find some recommendations for how to ‘correctly’ ring in the new year, so as to maximize your good fortune for 2023. After that, continue reading and you will see some recommendations for each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. Not sure which sign you are? Don’t worry; included under each sign is a list of years. If you were born in that year, that is your zodiac sign!

So how do we ring in the Chinese new year?

The Chinese new year is celebrated for sixteen days; from Chinese New Year's Eve (January 21st this year) to the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Even though it’s a bit of a late start, between now and Sunday, you can carry out what is known as a ‘winter-cleansing’ of your home. Think of it as a spring cleaning, but for January!

This is called "sweeping away the dust," and represents a wish to put away old things, bid farewell to the old year, and welcome in the Lunar New Year. You are throwing out those items you no longer need, which physically allows room for new growths, opportunities and blessings.

This is meant to include your home; even a quick decluttering can be beneficial for your luck in the new year. However, this can also include your workspace, and a mental and emotional decluttering as well. Any resentment, worry, regrets, etc. that you’ve been holding on to this past year, write them down and then throw them away. They no longer serve you. Make room for new blessings.

Of course, in addition to cleaning out the home, the days before the Chinese New Year are also meant to be a time where we can do some shopping! Nothing excessive like is done during the Western winter holidays, but some new clothes, in addition to food and snacks, New Year’s decorations, etc. are a great way to help ring in the new year.

Ever heard of the saying, dress for the job you want? Think of this as ‘dressing for the year you want!’ Like attracting like in this case. A snazzy, new outfit attracting many more snazzy, shiny, prosperity-bearing items into your life!

Come New Year’s Eve (January 21st), there are a couple of activities you can engage in to help ring in the new year:

  1. Putting Up New Year Decorations: houses are decorated with red lanterns, red spring couplets, paper cuttings, and New Year's paintings. Putting up these decorations is thought to keep evil away and make way for blessings, longevity, health, and peace. As 2023 is a Year of the Rabbit, rabbit images will appear on many of the decorations.

  2. Offering Sacrifices to Ancestors: offering sacrifices to ancestors shows respect and piety. In addition, ancestral spirits are believed to protect their descendants and help them become prosperous.

  3. Enjoying a Reunion (Family) Dinner: the Lunar New Year's Eve reunion dinner is a "must-do" dinner with all family members reuniting. Chinese try very hard to make this family event, often traveling long distances.

  4. Giving Red Envelopes (Lucky Money) to Kids: Parents usually give their children red envelopes after the reunion dinner, wishing them health, growth, and good studies in the coming year. Money in red envelopes is believed to bring good luck, as red is China's lucky color, so it's called lucky money.

  5. Staying Up Late: this custom is called shousui (守岁/show-sway/‘to keep watch over the year'). In the past, Chinese people used to stay up all night, but now most stay up only until midnight firecrackers and fireworks die down - much like with the Western New Year’s celebration.

The above are all activities that you can engage in during New Year’s Eve; there’s another whole set of activities for New Year's Day (Jan. 22, 2023), as well as the days that follow:

Remember, many believe that what they do on the first day of the lunar year will affect their luck during that year.

  1. Setting Off Firecrackers and Fireworks: the moment Lunar New Year arrives there is a cacophony of fireworks and firecrackers all around. It's believed that the louder the firecrackers, the better and luckier it will be for business and farming in the coming year.

  2. Putting on New Clothes and Extending New Year Greetings: on the first day of Lunar New Year, Chinese people put on new clothes, and say "gongxi" (恭喜/gong-sshee/literally ‘respectful joy', meaning 'greetings' or 'best wishes'), wishing each other good luck and happiness in the New Year. Remember those new clothes you just bought? This is the day to bring them out!

  3. Watching Lion and Dragon Dances: lion dances and dragon dances are also seen on Lunar New Year's Day. For those in the NOVA area, there is a Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, January 22nd at Tysons Mall.

  4. Public Celebrations at Parks and Temple Fairs: such activities are held in parks from the first day of the lunar year to the last (when celebrating the Lantern Festival). Generally, parks and temples are the best places to go for festive celebrations at the Chinese New Year. Again, see information about performances and festivals being held in the Tyson’s area on Sunday.

During the duration of the Chinese New Year, it is thought that going to visit relatives, especially those considered your elders, will help to bring you good luck and health.

Finally, to finish the New Year’s celebration off is the Chinese Lantern Festival, which will be on February 5th this year. The fifteenth day of the New Year is the Chinese Lantern Festival (元宵节 Yuánxiāo Jié /ywen-sshyaou jyeah/). It is the traditional end of Spring Festival celebrations.

Some people send glowing lanterns into the sky, while others release floating lanterns onto the sea, onto rivers, or adrift in lakes.

While we’ve talked about how one can celebrate the Chinese New Year to bring about good luck and fortune, how can one approach the new year according to their specific zodiac sign?

What are the Chinese zodiac signs?

There are 12 Chinese zodiac signs, in the following order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each sign is named after an animal, and each animal has its own unique characteristics.

There is a story of how these 12 animals came to represent each month of the year and make up the Chinese zodiac:

“Long, long ago, there was no Chinese zodiac. The Jade Emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his guards. He sent an immortal being into man's world to spread the message that the earlier one went through the Heavenly Gate, the better the rank one would have.

The next day, animals set off towards the Heavenly Gate. Rat got up very early. On his way to the gate, he encountered a river. He had to stop there, owing to the swift current. After waiting a long time, Rat noticed Ox about to cross the river and swiftly jumped into Ox's ear.

The diligent Ox did not mind at all and simply continued. After crossing the river, he raced towards the palace of the Jade Emperor. Suddenly, Rat jumped out of Ox's ear and dashed to the feet of the Emperor. Rat won first place and Ox was second. Rats and Ox are known as the early risers and go-getters.

Tiger and Rabbit came third and fourth because both are fast and competitive, but Tiger was faster. (Rabbit got across the river by hopping on stepping stones and a floating log.)

Good-looking Dragon was fifth and was immediately noticed by the Jade Emperor, who said Dragon's son could be sixth. But Dragon's son didn't come with him that day. Just then, Snake came forward and said Dragon was his adoptive father; so Snake ranked sixth. Hence, dragons are thought to be good-looking and snakes crafty.

Horse and Goat arrived. They were very kind and modest and each let the other go first. The Jade Emperor saw how polite they were and ranked them seventh and eighth.

Monkey had fallen well behind. But he jumped between trees and stones, and caught up to be ninth. Last were Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

These 12 animals became guards of the Heavenly Gate.”

As mentioned earlier, each sign has its own characteristics. They also have their own lucky numbers, colors, totems, etc. Knowing which sign you are, and utilizing those lucky items, can help enhance your good fortune in 2023.

I will start with the first sign, the rat, and go in chronological order.

Please know that for those born in January or early February, your zodiac sign may be the sign of the previous or following year - as the Chinese New Year changes each year. For example, while I was born in 1986 (the year of the Tiger), as I was born at the start of February, my sign is actually the Ox - the zodiac for 1985. The Lunar New Year started on February 8, 1986 of that year so those in January and early February of 1986 fall into the Year of the 1985 Ox - because their birthday was before the start of the Chinese new year that day.

Rats' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023:

Years of the Rat:1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Due to being 'in opposition to Tai Sui', Rats will encounter more in the way of thorny problems this year. So, Rat people, you need to be more careful and watchful in 2023, and don't be impulsive. In general, Rats, your career luck looks pretty good, but you'll still come up against some obstacles, like ostracization by colleagues or rumors/slander behind your back.

Rats' romantic fortunes will be on a downward trend, and single Rats are likely to stay single in 2023. Married Rats should be frank and talk more to maintain stable relations.

Rats, you should pay particular attention to any health problems this year, and get a check up if there is any discomfort. Maintain a good work-life with enough rest in your spare time.

How to be luckier: Display or wear lucky ox trinkets.

Lucky colors: blue, gold, green

Oxes' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023:

Years of the Ox: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Oxes, this year your fortunes are on the rise! However, you'll still have to work hard and take hold of opportunities to progress your career. You'll have opportunities to be noticed more at work.

Romantically, luck's on an upward trend too for Oxes. However, Oxes should be especially careful with their health, as there's a strong risk of an operation in the wind. Get medical attention early, Oxes, if you sense a problem, to stop a small ailment becoming a large one.

How to be luckier: Display or wear lucky turtle trinkets.

Tiger’s Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023:

Tiger birthday years: 2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, and 1938

Tiger-birth-year people have an utterly satisfactory outlook for 2023: although there will be a few downhill times, the overall trend is luck in the ascendancy. Tigers, you should learn to gain valuable experience from your failures, fully understand your shortcomings, and coolly face adversity. Then, you will avert disaster, and face many more favorable situations.

Tigers, you're set to see improvements in your career thanks to the help of benefactors. Although your financial fortunes are on a downward trend overall, you will still make more than the previous year. If you're not too sure about financial cons, don't go in for any investments this year: even if it's a close friend opening a premises, don't invest, otherwise it will lead to running losses in the end and a freezing over of the relationship.

How to be luckier: Display or wear lucky deer trinkets.

Lucky colors: green

Lucky colors: yellow, brown, white, golden, silver

Rabbits' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023:

Birth Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

Rabbits, in your 'birth year', you are believed to offend Tai Sui (/tie-sway/), the God of Age in Chinese mythology, and so you are predicted to face many challenges with frequent life changes. You're advised to be more careful about all aspects of your lives in 2023.

It's better for you to avoid big changes, like getting married or starting a new company. Be circumspect with problem solving and communication, and wear red underwear and socks to reduce bad luck. Your career will be ok if you work hard, and, despite everything, a promotion's likely. Believe that 'a rainbow will come after the wind and rain'.

How to be luckier: Wear red underwear and socks, and carry or wear lucky dog trinkets.

Lucky colors: blue, green

Dragons' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023:

Birth Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

On the whole, 2023 should be totally unfavorable for Dragons due to Tai Sui opposition, but they shouldn't worry too much. Dragons, this coming year, the lucky stars will also shine on you, so you just need to maintain the right focus and 2023 will go without a hitch.

Dragons, your career luck is set to be relatively good, with a good performance at work and help from influential persons leading to a promotion/raise. In romantic relationships, there will be mixed fortunes with the opposite sex, and marriage will be difficult to talk about due to personal problems. Dragons with partners will find it difficult to understand them and find themselves facing an interpersonal 'cold war'. You should try to see things from your love's point of view and interact more.

Dragons' health horoscope is average and they won't feel so fit. Dragon people, pay attention to daily relaxation and exercise, and develop habits of regular eating and sleep.

How to be luckier: Display or wear lucky phoenix trinkets.

Lucky colors: white

Snakes' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023

Birth Years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Entering 2023, Snakes' lives will go more smoothly. Career development prospects will be pretty good. Snakes, you should receive recognition from your leaders. After a series of tests, you'll create ground for a promotion and/or salary increase.

Love relationships will develop steadily. Single Snakes will be able to attract the attention of fine romantic partners. Speaking of Snakes who are in a relationship or married, you will have many disputes this year. When you see signs of a fight sprouting, you should immediately put out the fire of ire, and resolve the conflict with considerate dialogue.

Snakes are predicted to incur small ailments in 2023. Away from work, Snakes, you should exercise often, and balance work and rest wisely.

How to be luckier: Wear or display lucky monkey-related trinkets

Lucky colors: yellow

Horses’ Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023:

Birth Years: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

For Horses, 2023 will be a year of changeable fortunes. Being perpendicularly aligned, Horses, you should do your anti-Tai-Sui preparations well. Be careful and circumspect. With constant effort, you will be able to get through this risky year unscathed. All things will be totally turbulent. In work, you must pay attention to detail.

In love, however, Horses will find everything going smoothly. Horse singles will find relationships blossoming and will reap a predestined affinity.

Horses, your monetary fortunes will undergo a shaking, however. Be cautious and risk-averse, and seek a firm footing financially. Now is not the time to be thinking about how to make more money or how you can help others more.

How to be luckier: Wear or display lucky tiger-related tokens.

Lucky colors: red

Goats' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023

Birth Years: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

In 2023, Goats fortunes will play out rather erratically. So, Goats, you'll have to look at things pragmatically. As long as you can mature in tough situations, this year will go ok. Your career outlook is not bad, and you should achieve the recognition of benefactors, with the associated benefits of promotion or salary increase.

Luck in love is rather average for you, and you may find your relationship wilting, so when dealing with the opposite sex, don't look to outward appearances, but focus more on your partner's character and values.

Again, Goats, your health prospects are so-so. As your business prospects are good, and you will be busy at work, you should manage your time to appreciate a good work-life balance and the benefits of exercise outside work.

How to be luckier: Display or wear lucky pig items.

Lucky colors: orange, red, purple

Monkeys' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023

Birth Years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Stepping into 2023, Monkeys' luck prospects are flowing in three directions uncontrollably: falling, rising, and staying the same.

Monkey's, your careers are in for a downwards slide, and work won't seem as challenging as before. Monkeys should persevere in their current job/position this year, believing that 2023's stagnation is only temporary. Just welcome tough times and rise above them, as these circumstances will pass.

Relationally, luck for Monkeys will see a steady rise, and they will be in favor with the opposite sex.

And Monkeys' health prognosis is very stable. Monkeys with chronic conditions, all you have to do is take your medicine and have check ups regularly, and your condition should stay in check, not recurring or increasing.

How to be luckier: Wear or display lucky rat-related trinkets.

Lucky colors: white, golden, silver

Roosters' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023

Birth Years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Roosters, unfortunately 2023 will be very unfavorable for you astrologically. You'll struggle to make any progress in your career. You'll be angered by the obstacles you face in your field of work, and you'll have to be alert to the influence of petty people around you.

Regarding your wealth, because of Tai Sui's negative influence on your work, development prospects are flat. If your ability to work is limited, you may lose your job. You need to do your best to improve your employability, stabilize your finances, and stop your money flowing out in large amounts

This year, the chances for any relational changes are relatively unmoving. Roosters who are dating will be drawn towards marriage.

How to be luckier: Wear or display lucky dragon-related trinkets

Lucky colors: yellow, white, golden, silver

Dogs' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023

Birth Years: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Entering into 2023, Dogs' luck will be relatively stable, but it still carries with it some of the misfortune from the previous year. Health and wealth prospects will be continually declining, so care must be taken, Dogs, particularly with these aspects.

Regarding their careers, Dogs' fortunes will be full of twists and turns. This year, there's a danger of a big mistake at work, leading to the scrapping of an otherwise successful project, so Dogs need to work much harder than last year, and when trouble comes be ready to overcome adversity.

Dogs, in 2023 your romantic luck will be on an upward curve, but for single Dogs, your love life will be positively flourishing, and you will make many friendships that have a good chance of being your ideal love partner.

Dogs, in 2023, your health fortunes are trending down. For Dogs who already have physical problems, you should choose some exercise that your body's able to bear well to strengthen it and build it up. In this way, you will be able to fight off the predicted increase in infections and ailments.

How to be luckier: Wear or display lucky rabbit-related trinkets.

Lucky colors: red, yellow, brown

Pigs' Horoscope and Lucky Colors for 2023

Birth Years: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Pigs, prepare for a more stable year of luck in 2023. In your career, you will enjoy good cooperation with your colleagues and leaders and will have the chance for a promotion or raise. For business Pigs, the year will bring new cooperation/partnering or a new opening in your market.

In love, Pigs, your charm will increase, so, for singles there will be more favorable opportunities with the opposite sex, opening the way out of singlehood. Married Pigs, your spousal relations will be very harmonious, as will things within the wider family.

However, for Pigs, your health outlook is not such a happy picture. No matter how busy your work is, you must find a balance, at least finding time to eat and rest well.

How to be luckier: Wear or display lucky fish-related trinkets.

Lucky colors: black, yellow

If you really want to optimize your luck for the New Year, you can also look into what element your particular zodiac sign is! Of course, this leads to an entirely other area which bridges the gap with Traditional Chinese medicine.

With that said though, Happy Lunar New Year!

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