Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Lichun The First Day of Spring

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.

In the old days, Chinese farmers often celebrate the beginning of Lichun with special village events, worship and offerings to the gods and ceremonies for a blissful and prosperous new year. When I was little, my grandparents and parents would hold special prayers on this day of lichun. In Cantonese, we call it the Lap Chun. Then, I really didn't understand what it was all about and I went on with my prayers, doing the motions like a robot. In Malaysia, we never get to see the changing of the 4 seasons. We never go through a bitter cold winter, neither do we get to rejoice at the arrival of spring. Now I have a better picture of Lichun, thanks to the World Wide Web and award winning Feng Shui writers like Lillian Too and Peter So who translated the ancient texts and successfully explained it to me in such simple terms. I also get to see how your gardens bloom and change with the seasons, so now the arrival of spring has taken a fresh new meaning.

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.


  1. Hi Autumn Belle~~ Your pomelo looks like an unripe grapefruit in our part of the world. They are yellow when ripe. And I love the bows on your citrus. Your bulbs look very promising. I hope you'll post a photo when they bloom.

    Maybe I'll see if I can balance an egg on Lichun day. I'll let you know. Great post.

  2. Happy Lichun! Blessings! Enjoy the festive spirit..magical eggs and all! Beautiful photos..gorgeous!

  3. Nice and amusing Autumn Belle. I haven't heared of lichun but our lechon is a roasted pig. I read your link and amazed further. My closest friend is Chinese who is also very knowledgeable about feng shui, so she gave us long ago some auspicious objects like the pagoda, the double happiness symbol, the blue rhino for the door and for my bag, as i always loose some things, etc. O i have the Wu Lu also for health, yes of course the Chi Lin. She is the one i told you about, who gave me yearly Almanac from WOFS. I am also supposed to clean house, put some auspicious signs. I now face the South in the office not to face the Grand Duke Jupiter at the NE. However, i haven't changed the soil inside the pagoda yet. I must change it yearly. I am a snake, what are you Autumn Belle?

    Kung Hei Fat Choi but i have to tell you that on the 14th. BTW, pomelo is Citrus grandis.

  4. Hi Grace, yes indeed, the pomelo is our equivalent of the grapefruit. It has a thick skin/rind and yellow when ripe. I really hope I have a bloom to show from the bud!

    Kiki, some people say that if you can balance an egg on Lichun day, then wealth will come to you during the year!

    Ah ha, Andrea. Thanks for telling me the error. I will correct it ASAP. You are a snake? Yay! No wonder we are good friends. Snake and ox are zodiac allies. Get the hint?

  5. Very informative and interesting post, Autumn Belle. The pomello grows here too. People with daughters are supposed to plant it in their gardens.

  6. You have further enhanced my New Year Mood.

    My house is brand new now with new painting, is so beautiful at night after the red lanterns are switched on....

  7. Happy Lichun, Autumn Belle! I learned a lot from this post, thank you! Enjoyed the pictures, especially bulbs in the blue/white planter. Also, thank you for the link!

  8. Blessed Lichun Festival Belle!
    I hope the First Day of Spring arrives with many blessing to you & your family.

    I look forward to balance the egg on that day & see. It would be very remarkable to note that.

    And good luck with the bulb plant -Hope it blooms beautifully with many flowers.

  9. Very Interesting Autumn Belle! All Best wishes for Lichun! I would love either of those bountiful fruit trees! I have never seen an egg balanced that way but love the idea that some may think there is a special day when it can happen. Wonderful post... great to learn about this custom! Happy Spring Cleaning! From one still in mid winter! ;>) Carol

  10. Thanks so much for the interesting info on Lichun. Last CNY friend emailed said its on the 10th day of CNY and this year according to you is 4Feb. Yeah I have tried last year, the eggs stood well and the next day was very difficult.

    Would grow 'ngar ku' (arrowhead) every year and this year only one has sign of new shoot and the rest of the 4 nothing yet. Heard of putting ice cubes help them to grow better and also the plant like to be in dark/shady places maybe its the heat. Not sure same applies to water fairy or not. Maybe its a good I should also try to grow water fairy next CNY. haha

    Nice pix of the pomelo. TQ

  11. Oh I never knew that pomelo peels are used in cooking. Also Lichun day... thanks for the information!

    I saw so many lime plants in the nurseries and shops now. The limes are all yellow and nice. Those limes are definitely going to brighten up your house and giving your home a very festive mood. Good choice for the new year (CNY) :-D

    Happy spring cleaning :-D

  12. Hi again, my 'zodiac ally'. The Chinese lady who has been giving us lots of feng shui enhancers is my 'secret friend'. I am really fascinated by this blogging thing, now i added not only a friend from the tropics, but also a zodiac ally, a blog foster parent (from Di's blog adoption scheme). I told them you have adopted me long time ago even before the adoption thing surfaced, haha. I hope i become good soonest with my new DSLR so i can post photos at par with our photo-artists at garden blogs. However, at the moment i dont have time yet to practice, so still use my old photo files, done by my Point and Shoot.

  13. Interesting to read about Lichun and your photos are wonderful! Pomellos do very well here too. I'll try balancing an egg tomorrow. I hope your bulbs do well. The lime plant looks lovely with those pretty red ribbons on them.

  14. Lotusleaf, your info about the pomelo is very interesting and new to me. I wonder why people with daughters must plant pomelo in their gardens?

    Wow, Rainfield, looks like you are ready to welcome the New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

    Tatyana, thanks for your visit and comment. I really hope my bulbs will bloom.

    James, thank you very much for your Good Luck wishes. I need that, especially on my bulbs.

    Carol, I am 'spring' cleaning in hot summer weather, while you are in mid-winter. But we look at the same moon every night!

    Bananaz, I grow the arrowheads too, and now waiting for it to sprout.

    Stephanie, one example is the candied pomelo peels.

    Andrea, you can say that I have found a precious friend in you. I actually stumbled into your blog and I hope I can be your 'big sister'. You have a great blog which I hope others can enjoy too.

    Kanak, thanks for your good luck wishes. Good luck on your egg balancing.

  15. that egg looks pretty close to balanced on end! Another super interesting post. My parents use pomelo rind in soups. THey love the fruit. That is so interesting about the spring - and about how there will be no spring in the year of the tiger (my year! - hope this won't be a bad year for me!!).

  16. Great sharing of the Lichun festival.May health and prosperity be yours this Chinese New Year.

  17. Wendy, Sunshine Girl. Thanks for the visit and good luck wishes. One's luck for the year depends on our own horroscope or 4 Pillar Chart readings. Different people experience different luck cycles in the same year. Anyway, we can always take actions to enhance good luck and remedies to protect against the bad.


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