Caption: This Chinese New Year gift combines various elements that bring good fortune: lucky colors (red, gold, yellow, pink, orange); and the fish-shaped tikoy (sticky rice cake).
Are you wearing underwear right now? Is your underwear red?
This is important: did you buy it yourself, of did someone give it to you?
Believe it or not, the answers to those questions may be crucial to the kind of luck you’ll be having for 2019.
All right, not everyone is into all this feng shui and Chinese zodiac-based practices for the Chinese New Year — but why not try it out?
Who knows you might end up getting luckier than you were in 2018!
If you are not Filipino-Chinese but you still want to get in on the Chinese New Year vibe, here are some hacks on how you can do that:
1. Wear red
Red happens to be a very lucky color according to Chinese belief. It supposedly attracts wealth, success, happiness, even loyalty.
So you can wear red clothing for tonight and tomorrow if you want to attract good luck. But do you know how this belief started?
Well, it has something to do with Chinese astrological belief in the god Tai Sui. The explanation seems fuzzy to our Western-educated brains but essentially, Tai Sui is a sort of star or god. It supposedly corresponds to the planet Jupiter.
Tai Sui, for some reason, tends to bring misfortune to people whenever the Chinese New Year falls on their birth/zodiac year.
For example, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. If you happen to have been born during the Pig years (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019) then Tai Sui is essentially targeting your ass right now.
Tai Sui, also known as the God of Age, can supposedly be appeased by offerings, sacrifices, and prayers.
Alternatively, you can simply wear red. This protects you from bad luck and bad spirits. However, there’s a condition before the power of red is activated: your red underwear must be a gift from someone else. If you buy it for yourself to wear, it won’t work.
Curiously, we haven’t found any such condition for other articles of clothing. So you can buy a red shirt, shoes, pants, etc. and you’ll benefit from the good luck they attract.
So just be sure to have someone else buy you red underwear. Otherwise, all the other parts of your body will be lucky — but bad luck with hit your precious privates, thanks to Tai Sui.
2. New clothes.
Chinese New Year is also the start of the Spring Festival, so all things new are being celebrated. This is why it is a tradition to shop for new outfits at this time.
The important thing is to buy new clothes and other items as a way of letting go of the past and starting anew.
Of course, buying new red clothing is much better if you want protection from Tai Sui, demons, and bad luck.
3. Lucky foods
Certain foods are believed to bring good luck in 2019. Be sure to eat fish because it represents prosperity. Based on our research, steamed fish seems to be the best choice for maximum lucky energy.
Maybe stay away from tuyo or dried salted fish because that certainly doesn’t look like it attracts wealth.
There are other, seemingly complicated rules on how to eat the lucky fish dish. One of these involves the Yangtze River in China, which is almost 4,000 kilometers away from Manila. So such rules might not be practical.
Another lucky food is the ever-present tikoy, which represents getting a higher income or a higher job position.
Spring rolls, or our favorite lumpia, is also lucky because it represents wealth. Noodles are also lucky and are believed to bring longevity and happiness.
Round and “golden” fruits are considered lucky, representing abundance and wealth. Examples of such fruits are oranges, pomelo, lemon, and tangerine. Our local dalandan and dalanghita might also qualify for this.
4. Lucky colors
Yes, we put these in a separate section because red really occupies the preeminent position among all the colors.
However, if wearing a lot of red on Chinese New Year’s day is not your style, these colors will also bring you luck: gold, pink, blue, and green.
Take note, even colors in shades and hues close to these can also be lucky. So if you can’t find gold boxer shorts, bright yellow ones will also do the trick.
5. Lucky charms
There are even more complicated rules and guides for choosing lucky charms for Chinese New Year.
The charm or charms that work on you will depend on your Chinese zodiac sign. Say, if you are an Ox, then you’d best get a Brass Money Frog.
If you are a Goat, better get a Five Element Pagoda.
If you go through the internet, there are simply so many charms to look at and choose from.
The practical thing to do is to simply go to Binondo and look through the charms being sold at the stores. Such charms are also sold in malls. Just approach the sellers who would be able to help you choose.
But wait, a word of warning: some of these lucky charms can be expensive. Also, even with the seller helping you, understanding what these charms are supposed to do might still be bewildering.
6. Ang bao
Here’s an easier hack: Give away an ang bao instead of a lucky charm. An ang bao is simply a red envelope that you put money in. How much money is, of course, up to you.
The ang bao is a way of wishing or bestowing blessings and good fortune to others.
Here are some quick rules when giving an ang bao:
- The ang bao is given by an older person to a younger person, or by someone of higher rank to someone of lower rank.
- Never put coins in an ang bao. The best is to use new bills.
- The amount of money should be in even numbers not odd.
- Important: Never give money in an amount that has the number 4. The number 4 represents death, so it’s a no-no. A more detailed guide to ang bao is found here.
Hopefully, this makes it easier for you to get into the Chinese New Year traditions. Let us know if you really do get lucky.