THE YEAR of the Water Dragon, which begins on January 23, 2012, is expected to bring better fortune for the Philippines.
In a recent press briefing to announce the Chinese New Year festivities at the Mandarin Oriental Manila, its resident feng shui expert Joseph Chau said, however, natural disasters may be coming our way because the so-called “Disaster Star” is flying in the Southeast, where the country is located.
A 30-year-veteran geomancer with an international client base, Chau also gave a preview of his forecasts for the 12 Animal Signs (Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, and Rabbit) in the coming year.
Overall, the luckiest zodiac signs this year are those born in the year of the Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 2989, 2001); Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002); Pig (1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007); and Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996).
While 2012 is a Dragon year, those born in such a year (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012) are not considered lucky. In fact, Dragons are said to offend the Tai Suey or Grand Duke. “They will be under stress and will face many obstacles, challenges, persecutions and problems. They should be very careful in handling their work or business and do things step by step. ‘Think before you act’ is a key phrase to remember, for them to be successful within the year….,” he said. It is also not fortunate year in the romance area for Dragons.
• Monkey (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004). “There are so many unlucky stars gathered under the sign. So, they easily get into trouble and experience problems, especially related to business ventures, rumors and court cases. However, constant hard work and humility will bring success to them.”
• Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005). “Roosters will face many obstacles or problems ahead, but they should not be too worried about that as these problems will eventually get solved. The lucky stars will change their bad luck into good fortune.”
• Rabbit (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011). “Career luck is promising and they are able to change their bad luck into good fortune. However, they have to work step by step and stand on solid ground in order to succeed. It is important that they avoid dreaming and aiming too high. Their arrogance will be their biggest obstacle at work.”
But Chau does stress that his forecasts are general readings using birth years, so it is better for individuals to have their charts created and read, based on their complete birthdate, which also includes the month, day and time of birth—the so-called Four Pillars method of reading a person’s life. (Consult your birth certificate for those details.)
He added that there are also charms that can be used at home to ward off bad luck, as well as rituals to ring in the New Year.
1. Clean the house thoroughly. But make sure all the cleaning is done before January 22, or the Eve of the Chinese New Year.
2. Decorate the house with red paper lanterns or other accessories in red. The color has long been associated with good luck.
3. Bathe before midnight. As a final rinse (pangbanlaw), use water boiled with the leaves of the pomelo plant. The scent is supposed to shed away any bad luck on one’s person.
4. Buy new underwear, new slippers, new clothes and wear them. Most Chinese wear red clothing and accessories as well.
5. Make sure the rice bin is full before midnight, and put on its top, ang pao or red envelope with money inside.
6. On the dining table, put five kinds of round fruits in pairs to symbolize abundance and continued prosperity. 2012 being the Dragon Year, one can use dragon fruit, as well as pineapples, pomelo, a bunch of grapes, kiat-kiat, mandarin oranges, or apples, the latter symbolizing “peace” in the Chinese language.
7. Also for the dining table, add flowers, peanuts with shells (the sound in Chinese means “dynamism”), a sweet cake (anything that rises like mamon, but not a mousse, because it has no air), candies, and radish cake.
8. If you’re going to have a midnight dinner, serve an entire fish, complete from head to tail as it signifies abundance.
9. Most Chinese light up fireworks and explode firecrackers as a way to chase away bad luck, and allow prosperity to come into their lives.
10. Give away ang pao with money, to children.
If we want to attract wealth in the Water Dragon Year, we can use certain amulets, talismans or jewelry such as the Treasure Bowl, Vivacious Prince of Wealth, and the Flying Golden Pei Yau.
To attract luck in career, use a Jade Dragonhead Fish.
The Jade Master Protection Pendant and Safety Medallion will ensure our safety, while the Health Medallion, is used to protect against illness.
To attract romance, we can use a Romance Bucket, Brass Happy Couple, or Mandarin Duck, while the Benefactor Jade will improve our overall luck.
Every year, there are so-called “flying stars” that settle and rule the fates of certain locations.
According to Chau, the luckiest directions this year are the West where the Wealth star resides, the Center (Travel Star), Northeast (Prosperity Star), East (Academic and Promotion stars); and the South (Romantic star), although there is a Three Killer star flying above said location.
It is important to know the lucky and unlucky directions so we can ensure harmony and prosperity in the family. The most important parts of the home are the bedroom, the living room and the main door.
Stand in the center of the house, and using a compass, determine which direction the rooms are. If a married couple’s bedroom is located, for instance, in the southwest part of the house, quarrelling may occur because the Conflict Star is flying above that direction.
If the couple cannot transfer to another room, make sure the southwest area of the same bedroom is “not activated” – there should be no electric fan, no clock, or any other item that will stir up the energy or chi in that location. Put a red ang pao with money in that location to dissipate the effect of the unlucky star.
If the main door is located in the northwest where the Robbery Star is flying, put a pair of Happy Hippos by the door. We can also use another door as an alternative main entrance, as long as it is located in a lucky direction. “Anyway this is just temporary, for one year,” said Chau.
With Chinese New Year declared as a holiday—a first in Philippine history—the public has all the more reason to attend the Mandarin’s iconic and much-awaited celebration which will begin at 10 pm, on January 22.
The spectacular and auspicious Chinese New Year celebration is marked by rituals and ceremonies designed to augur luck and bring good chi, especially for Makati City, considered as the country’s major financial capital.
The evening opens with cocktails at the MO Lounge (formerly Captain’s Bar), followed by the colorful ceremonies outdoors where hotel general manager Mark Bradford and special guests officiate at the traditional ceremony of dotting the eyes of the lions and a dragon.
Chau then performs a Paai-Shan ceremony and an energizing ritual to complete the hotel’s lunar extravaganza. A key ingredient in every Chinese New Year celebration is the fireworks display by Enchanted Kingdom, which will light up the skies at midnight.
Capping off the evening celebration is a midnight eight-course lauriat dinner, the first lucky meal of the year, held at the stylishly-adorned Mandarin Ballroom. Ticketholders also receive a complimentary copy of the very detailed 2012 Year of the Water Dragon Forecastauthored by Chau.
• (For more information on Mandarin Oriental, Manila’s Chinese New Year activities, call the hotel on 750-8888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)