Lichun (立春) signifies the first day of spring in Chinese culture. In the year 2010, Lichun starts on February 4th at 6:49 am Malaysian time. It is based on the Hsia (Solar/Farmer) Calendar. Lichun marks the begining of another cycle when all living things are revived. For Feng Shui, 4 Pillar Destiny Chart or Phat Chee reading purposes, the Year of the Tiger starts on Feb 4th. It takes over from the animal zodiac sign of Ox.
Just as in gardening, I must admit that I am not an expert but just a follower who has read many books and articles to understand these concepts. Therefore, treat this as another of my 'tales' for your light reading. Hopefully, you get to understand and know more about my life as a Malaysian who celebrates the Lunar New Year.
There is a Chinese folklore or myth? that says that on this and only this special day, we can balance an egg on a smooth surface, i.e. make it stand on its ends. My father told me this many years ago. I think there is no scientific evidence to proof that eggs only behave this way on lichun day. For curiosity sake, read this. The above is a picture of my egg balancing attempt taken at the lichun hour on lichun day in Feb 2007.
Have you heard of this?
Would you want to try it on this Feb 4th?
Usually, Chinese New Year is celebrated around this time. New Year's Day may fall before or after Lichun. A year without Lichun is called "A Year With No Spring" ( 無春年). Such a year is also known as "widow year" (寡婦年) in northern China or "blind year" (盲年) in southern China. Marriage is believed to be unlucky in a year without Lichun but many fengshui masters have also advised that marriage is okay if a good day is selected after checking the couples' horroscopes.
In 2010, the lunar new year starts on Feb 14th which is after Lichun. Therefore we consider this a year with no spring. In 2011, the Lunar New Year starts on 3rd Feb. Tiger will miss the arrival of spring twice.
This year the masters have advised Lichun day is a good day to offer prayers to welcome the God of Wealth. So this is what I will do.
Now I am in the midst of spring cleaning my whole house. I am also trying to 'simulate' the arrival of spring in hot sunny Malaysia, by growing some bulbs. Look at the picture above. Seller told me that this is the narcissus plant or water fairy (水仙) in chinese. Actually, I am not quite sure if it is a narcissus or a hyacinth. I have been told to grow this in water, no need fertilizer (?) and put in some ice cubes in the warm afternoons, to cool the plant so that it can live longer. Anyway, the shoots were just visible when I first bought it and now they have already grown in length, so I'm keeping my fingers cross that it will be okay under my hands. However, the tips of the leaves are turning yellow and my heart beats are getting irregular everything I check on it!
Any tips to make it bloom and/or survive my climate?
This is a citrus lime plant decorated with lovely red ribbons. I have just bought 2 of these plants but still haven't decorated it yet. We like to choose a tree that is 'overloaded' with ripening fruits. It looks like there is an abundance of gold nuggets hanging on the tree, signifying an abundance of wealth and prosperity luck. You can liken this to Christmas trees, a must-have during the season although the meanings and significance may be different.
This is a pomelo fruit, botanical name Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis. The picture is taken from The Secret Garden of 1-Utama. Native to South East Asia, it is the largest citrus fruit at 15-25cm in diameter and weighing 1-2kg. Depending on when it is cut from the tree, it's storage life can last up to one month. In Malaysia, the most famous ones come from Tambun, Perak state. There are 2 varieties, the sweet white flesh or sour pink flesh. The fruit can be used in prayers, the flesh in desserts and salads. The peels can also be used in cooking. We use a lot of the leaves for prayers and also in house cleansing where we dip a stalk of the leaves in water and sprinkle the water around the house. We also add the leaves to our baths to cleanse our bodies before prayers. Maybe I will elaborate more on the pomelo plant and fruit in another post later.
Now, I am ending my post here to continue with my spring cleaning and festive preparations. Until then, I wish you GOOD LUCK in your seed sowing, spring planting and gardening.
My post today is dedicated to Ms Tatyana of My Secret Garden, the first commenter of my previous post, Auspicious Plants for Chinese New Year. She has a beautiful blog with splendid pictures of georgeous flowers on every post.