" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

February 24, 2018

2018: Year of the Dog Celebrations

I spent Chinese New Year's eve up at my local Buddhist temple this year bringing in the 'Year of the Earth Dog'.
Walking through the entrance to the temple is like walking through a star-gate and into another world I like to think.
It's one of my favourite times of the year and though I'm more of a cat person than a dog person I still had a good time this year with all of the dog themes on the night.
I guess I better get used to the theme of dogs turning up everywhere this year.
The Lion dance is my favourite part of the night, especially with me being a cat person (and a Brisbane Lions fan), so even the dog gets upstaged by the cats on Chinese New Year's eve:-)
"During the Chinese New Year, lion dance troupes will visit the houses and shops of the Asian community to perform the traditional custom of "cai qing" (採青), literally meaning "plucking the greens", whereby the lion plucks the auspicious green lettuce either hung on a pole or placed on a table in front of the premises.
The "greens" (qing) is tied together with a "red envelope" containing money and may also include auspicious fruit like oranges.
In Chinese cǎi (採, pluck) also sounds like cài (菜, meaning vegetable) and cái (, meaning fortune).
The "lion" will dance and approach the "green" and "red envelope" like a curious cat, to "eat the green" and "spit" it out but keep the "red envelope" which is the reward for the lion troupe.
The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business.
During the Qing Dynasty, there may be additional hidden meanings in the performances, for example the green vegetables (qing) eaten by the lion may represent the Qing Manchus.
In modern Hok San lion dance, they will use one of the many testings to approach the food, each one with a specific beat and movement sequence."
The Lion dance comes near the end of the light offering service where the main lion goes into the temple to approach the "green" and "red envelope" like a curious cat, to "eat the green" and "spit" it out but keep the "red envelope" which is the reward for the lion troupe.
There is no shortage of light at the temple and even if the electricity was to go out on the night there are still plenty of candles on hand.
And the red lanterns all around the complex look rather spectacular in the dark of night.
The path to the pagoda looks especially good with all of the red lanterns appearing to float in the sky.
I even got to see a few major local celebrities on the night in the art gallery, like the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, the head of the Queensland Police and a few Logan politicians who were invited to be part of a ribbon cutting ceremony on the night.
The Lord Mayor of BrisbaneGraham Quirk 
giving a speech on the night
There was a big group photo afterwards where everyone in the room including me, was invited to hop in for the shot, but I was only wearing blue jeans, a red polo shirt and thongs (flip-flops for you American readers), so I declined the offer, as I felt a little under-dressed compared to everybody else in the room.
I'm a person who likes to be behind the camera instead of in front of the camera anyway.
I bought a lucky red bag on the night to help get me through the year and hopefully the luck it offers will keep my head above the financial waters throughout the Year of the Dog:-)
I thought it was unusual to get a purple coloured decoration in my lucky bag, as usually they are red or golden yellow, not purple.
I did buy a red one of these charms as well to hang in the "lucky corner" of my home.
Part of my New Year resolution at the start of 2018 was to get into the I Ching more, so having these six coins hanging in the kitchen is a good daily reminder to get cracking on my resolution.
Well, that was how I saw the Year of the Dog in for 2018 and the next year will be the 'Year of the Earth Pig', so hopefully with all of my lucky charms I'll have something to take to the bank when next year rolls around, and I'll be like a pig in mud;-)

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