The following are some top tips from feng shui masters to maximise luck for the upcoming year – but results not guaranteed!
- Beware the Fan Tai Sui
"Fan Tai Sui" roughly translates as an individual that faces major obstacles in health and work. The obstacles last for an entire Chinese calendar year. According to a feng shui book from Master Mak Ling Ling, in the Year of the Horse there are four Chinese zodiac signs that may succumb to the Fan Tai Sui dilemma – the Horse, Rat, Rabbit and Ox.
Rat (Born February 5, 1924 to January 23, 1925 or every 12 years thereafter)
There will be challenges between you and your spouse. If you are lacking plans to give birth or get married, it may impact your relationship. For those who are single, it won’t be easy to start a relationship this year. Bringing a monkey or dragon into the mix can ease the loneliness.
Rabbit (Born February 2, 1927 to January 22, 1928 or every 12 years thereafter)
Fear not! Things won't be too bad this year, but you may encounter arguments with your friends and lose some relationships. People born in the Year of the Dog will be rabbit's best friend.
Ox (Born January 24, 1925 to February 12, 1926 or every 12 years thereafter)
Alas – signs point to you being falsely incriminated by villains! You are advised to do more and talk less this year. Look to snake or rooster zodiac signs for support.
Horse (Born January 30, 1930 to February 16, 1931 or every 12 years thereafter)
The Horse has got it bad this year. There will be big changes in your life. Your emotions may fluctuate radically, and you may find yourself easily irritated. This can be solved by giving birth, starting a business, changing careers or moving house. This year will affect your health and you will get hurt repeatedly and to varying degrees. You are advised not to take part in dangerous activities such as sky diving. Your situation may improve by donating blood or brushing your teeth thoroughly. Stay close to companions born in the Year of the Goat – they have some answers for you.
- Do nothing to your hair
Traditionally, on the first eight days of the Lunar New Year, people do not go to the hair dressers or wash their hair, as this may drive away all your good luck of the year. People still believe this, and tend not to have their hair cut for the first week of Chinese New Year. For the sake of hygiene and appearance however, most people do not follow the practice of no hair washing, but some still keep their hair untouched for the first two or three days.
- Wear red underwear
In Chinese, red corresponds to fire, and symbolises good fortune and joy. That’s why cities are filled with red decorations at Chinese New Year. But one wouldn't want their pants to be on fire, one would presume... Well in this instance, red underwear symbolises happiness, good luck and prosperity coming your way from the start to the end of the year. It is the veritable embodiment of all parts of your body being filled with luck – even the nether regions.
- Bathe in grapefruit leaves
People believe that grapefruit leaves have the ability to drive out bad luck from an individual. Instead of shampoo or body wash, people scrub themselves down with grapefruit leaves when bathing on Chinese New Year Eve, as it is believed that all bad fortunes from the last year will be washed away. Standard practice is to start with washing your hair with the leaves and then work your way down the body – and voila, your bad luck will be washed away along with your dirt. If you forget to use the leaves on CNY eve, don't worry, it's still acceptable to perform this ritual on the first day of the new year... just don't wash your hair!
- Eat good fortune foods
Fat choy is a type of photosynthetic bacteria used as a vegetable in Chinese cuisine. As appetising as this sounds, this is to be consumed during this time of year because the two syllables of its name are similar to the last two syllables of Gung Hei Fat Choi in Cantonese – the traditional Chinese New Year blessing which roughly means “wishing you prosperity”.
It is also advised that you intake at least some dried oyster, since the Cantonese pronunciation – “Ho Shi” – symbolises good business.