With preparations well under way for the Chinese New Year I thought it was time to share my annual article on one of the practices which I like to observe. Li Chun or the beginning of the spring season for the Year of the Metal Rat (庚子) falls on February 4th. However welcoming Cai Shen or the `God of Wealth` at the Lunar New Year is another particularly important event in the Chinese New Year Festival.The Chinese believe that welcoming Cai Shen into your home on the first day of the first lunar month ushers in good wealth luck for the year.
The time and direction varies each year and people whose Zodiac sign conflicts with the day should not participate in the ceremony; which this year affects those who are born in the Rabbit (卯) or Rooster (酉).
In 2020 the first day of the first Lunar Month commences on January 25th, but Cai Shen arrives from the West (257.5°) on the evening of January 24th between 11.00 pm and 1.00 am (LST).
The most auspicious time to receive Cai Shen is actually 11.40 pm LST or 12.40 am if you live in those parts of Australia which observe DST.
If you would like to invite Cai Shen into your home then follow these steps and may you enjoy much happiness, health, success and prosperity in the Year of the Metal Rat!
The first thing you must do is to clean your home, paying particular attention to all the main ch’i openings (windows and doors) that are located in the West, as this is the direction that Cai Shen arrives from.
Start at the main entrance and work your way around in a clockwise direction. Ideally kaffir lime juice and leaves should be added to your bucket of water for extra cleansing properties, but this is up to you.
Please note that this type of spring cleaning can be undertaken at any time, but is really best done during auspicious days leading up to the Lunar New Year and those remaining dates are:
• January 18 – Avoid cleaning if born in Tiger Year
• January 19 – Avoid cleaning if born in Rabbit Year
• January 20 – Avoid cleaning if born in Dragon Year
• January 22 – Avoid cleaning if born in Horse Year
• January 24 – Avoid cleaning if born in Monkey Year
Just before 11.40 pm LST (or 12.40 am Australian Eastern Daylight Time or EADT ) you should shower and change into fresh clothes in order to demonstrate your sincerity.
Then open all West facing windows or doors in order to receive the auspicious ch’i into your home.
Following this light 3 tea-light candles and place them in the West sector of your home. Please do so safely and do not leave them unattended.
At 11.40 pm LST or 12.40 am EADT stand (or sit) next to the open window or in the door way and face towards the West.
Inhale the prosperous influences, welcome them into your home and visualize the positive goals you wish to achieve this year in both your professional and personal life.
Alternately you can burn 3 sticks of incense in the West sector of your home, bow three times and sincerely pray for well wishes, whilst inviting Cai Shen into your home.
You may even like to take a nap due to the early arrival of Cai Shen; as long as everything is in readiness beforehand and you remember to set your alarm so that you wake up in time!