People watching  fireworks

Chinese New Year Preparations

THE FIRE HORSE GIRL begins on the day before the new year. It is a time of preparation and looking forward – a perfect starting place for a journey. I loved researching the preparations that Nushi and Jade Moon would be busy with on this day for the first chapter.

Since tomorrow is the first day of the Chinese New Year celebration. If you haven’t started preparing yet, here are a few traditions you might embrace:

Clean – your house, yourself, and your life. Sweep the house for the beginning of the year to get rid of any of the leftover bad luck from the old year. Once the new year starts, you should not get out the brooms for a couple of weeks for fear that you might sweep away the new good luck. Once the house is clean, you can start to fill it with flowers – daffodils, hyacinths, lotus, peony. Avoid white since it is the color of funerals. You can also decorate with red ribbon and paper with good luck signs on them.

To clean up your life, you should settle debts and resolve disagreements. You want to have a fresh start in the new year.

To clean up yourself, you can get a hair cut and cut your nails. Using scissors at the beginning of the new year might cut the luck you have coming your way. You can also buy new clothes.

More Chinese New Year posts to come! I hope you enjoy!

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Year of the Snake

English: Chinese for "Snake"
English: Chinese for “Snake” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In a few weeks (on February 10) the Chinese New Year celebrations begin and we enter the year of the Snake.

 

Just like the Fire Horse, the Snake has certain characteristics. In The Fire Horse Girl, Sterling Promise was born in the Year of the Snake. Snakes are clever and calculating, which makes them excellent at business. They have a laser focus on their goals, and sometimes manage to achieve them at the expense of others. On the other hand, their good business sense and cool exterior make them excellent mediators.

 

In the Chinese zodiac, each of the twelve animals is paired with one of five elements (earth, wood, metal, water, and fire). This year will be the Year of the Water Snake. Sterling Promise was born in the Year of the Wood Snake. While the element of fire intensifies all of Jade Moon’s traits, the element of wood softens some of the Snake’s rough edges. Wood Snakes tend to have a kindness and sincerity. They love deeply, and they can be less vain than your average Snake.

 

The Years of Horse and Snake are next to each other in the zodiac for a reason. When the Emperor was looking to name the years, he decided to have a race of the animals. The first twelve would have a place in the zodiac. The bold Horse was charging to the finish line, about to win sixth place, when the clever snake slithered off one of its hooves. The Horse jumped backwards and the snake won sixth leaving the horse in seventh place. Snakes and Horses tend to find themselves fighting a lot.

 

I have always loved the backstory of Jade Moon and Sterling Promise’s zodiac signs. The Horse got her revenge for being cheated by the Snake.

 

This is my favorite site on the different signs of the Chinese zodiac. I used it a lot while I was researching Fire Horse Girl:

 

http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/Snake.htm

 

This site has the story of the animal race and some other good information:

 

http://www.topmarks.co.uk/ChineseNewYear/ZodiacStory.aspx