Wait for it . . .
January 1st has come and gone but some of you may have a curious sense that the New Year hasn’t really started yet. In my opinion you are quite right. With respect to the Gregorian calendar, New Year has come and gone, but Chinese New Year is yet to come. The date Chinese New Year is defined by the lunar/solar calendar and coincides with the New Moon that falls between 21st January and 20th February; Chinese New Year is particularly late in 2018 and will not be upon us until 16th February. Traditional Chinese New Year celebrations run for two weeks, ending 15 days later on the following full moon. The evening before Chinese New Year it is traditional to hold a large family reunion – often referred to as the largest annual mass migration of human beings in the world!
Many modern Chinese rituals are rooted in ancient tales and legends. The Chinese New Year celebrations relate to a tale about a mythical beast called Nian that had a head of a lion, the body of an ox and lived in the sea. On the night of the New Year the beast would emerge from the sea to eat villagers, and destroy property. One year, all the villagers decided to leave their homes for the night to hide from the beast but old man appeared and said that he would stay the night in the village to seek his revenge on Nian; the old man decorated the place with red, set off firecrackers and made lots of loud noises to scare the beast. The next day the villagers came back to see that nothing in their village had been destroyed and declared the old man a deity who had come to save them. On the eve of the next New Year, the villagers wore red clothes, hung red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors and made lots of loud noise to frighten away the Nian and the beast never came to the village again. At the college where I studied for my acupuncture degree we would hold a party to celebrate Chinese New Year’, during the evening the red dragon would emerge and we would follow it around the entire building banging saucepans and hollering at the tops of our voices to scare away bad omens and cleanse the lecture rooms and clinic space for the New Year.
New Year marks the beginning of the energy of the Wood Element which is associated with the season of Spring – even though we may look out of the window and still see winter, under the soil the energy of Spring is starting to create movement which will build in momentum to produce the first growth of Spring over the coming weeks. If you found it difficult to come up with good New Year’s resolutions, or are having trouble sticking to them, consider trying again in the middle of February. The energetic quality of the Chinese New Year should help to strengthen your resolve and make it easier to put these resolutions into action.
If you have found yourself stuck in a rut recently, acupuncture could help you to start get things moving again. Many of you have been struck down by the nasty flu bug doing the rounds this winter, and some of you may find you still haven’t got all your energy back. Acupuncture can help to reinvigorate a tired system, giving both you and your immune system a much needed lift. If you want to help yourself to rebuild energy, start by gently warming up your digestion – refrain from drinking cold drinks and cut back on the raw food until your energy has returned; drink water warmed with a slice or two of fresh ginger instead or maybe some miso soup with spring onions and ginger chopped into it, eat lots of dark green, leafy vegetables and slow roasted root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and beetroot. It would also be a good idea to try to increase your probiotic intake, either from a natural source such as kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut, or from a course of over-the-counter probiotics (at home we use probiotics from Lamberts Healthcare or Bio-Kult). If you have recently taken antibiotics I would strongly recommend you add some probiotics into your system to help counteract any damage done by the antibiotics. The digestive system is the root of all our energy, and sometimes it needs a bit of warmth and support to recover from a nasty bug.
Alexandra O’Connor LicAc MBAcC
Holicity Acupuncture (Maldon) & Burnham Osteopathic Clinic www.holicity.co.uk Facebook: HolicityAcupuncture 01621 786600