Looking for Good Luck

The Year of the Tiger, 4696

By: Stella Fong

Good luck, good luck, where are you? Have you seen Good Luck around? What about his friends Prosperity, Fortune, and Happiness? Have you seem them?

Good luck, you will not escape me this year. I have prepared for your arrival. I have my magnifying glass, butterfly net, duster, lai-see necklace, and stuffed tiger. You will not get away from me.

With this high power magnifying glass, I should be able to find Good Luck. You will not escape from my very glance. Actually, do you know what Good Luck looks like?

Maybe I can I catch it with this butterfly net? The problem is I do not know it modes operandi. Does it slitter, fly, or crawl?

With this duster, I have removed every speck of dust from my house. My mom tells me that Good Luck likes a clean house. Now, do I just sit back and wait for the doorbell to ring?

I think the lai-see necklace is a good idea. What do you think? Instead of filling the envelopes with money and placing them around the house, I thought that I would just wear them around my neck. I am sure that Good Luck will find it attractive. If anything at all, it brings back memories of my childhood. This was the most prosperous time of the year when auntie and uncle gave us these envelopes filled with money. I thought that I was the richest kid in the world.

Since this is the Year of the Tiger, I chose to adopt stuffed Tigger. I did not think that my husband would approve a 500 pound Sumatran tiger in the house. Tigger is very easy to care for and besides, it is very quiet and does not eat very much. Remember, a tiger in the house will scare away, fires, thieves and evil spirits. Tiger is a deep thinker and planner. He is not only brave but is very generous. Maybe I should go back to the store to buy a few more Tiggers.

On January 28, the Year of the Tiger, 4696 arrived. According to Chinese legend, Buddha invited all the animals in his kingdom to appear before him. Twelve animals made the long journey and now, each are honored on separate years.

The list is long during this time of legends, symbolism, and rituals. So pay attention and perhaps Good Luck will be a permanent guest at your house.

  • Coins and shiny wrappers symbolize wealth.
  • Sprouting bulbs represent new life.
  • The color red signifies happiness while green means prosperity.
Encourage your children to stay awake on New Year's Eve and longevity will be yours. As a parent and a grandparent grant your children "laisees" or lucky money, tucked into red or gold envelopes.

For weeks, family and friends will visit each other. Guests bring gifts for the gracious host. Hosts toast well wishes with tea to visitors, and offer treats of seeds for fertility and candy for a sweet life.

Not showering on the first day of the year will prevent you from washing all your good luck away. Put on new clothes and you will be ready to face the new year.

There should be no killing on the first day of the new year celebration. In some households, meat is not consumed this day and a vegetarian dish, "jai" or Buddha's Delight is served. In other homes, the feast is prepared days before.

The food you eat during these celebration days will determine your fate in the new year. Do you want family togetherness? Bring the family together by serving a fire pot. The round pot represents wholeness. Complete this with round bowls and plates, and you will be guaranteed to never be alone again. Make sure to serve at least eight dishes for the number "bot" sounds like luck or hundredfold.

Are you seeking a fortune? Then eat spring rolls. If you use your imagination, the rolls look like gold bars. Devour an egg and the yolk will make your life golden.

If you seek longevity, slurp noodles, but do not cut or break them. If you want abundance, then eat fish. The Chinese word for fish is "yu" which sounds like the word for surplus. Adorn your house with tangerines and kumquats, and gold and good luck will be found in your future.

Perhaps I do not know what Good Luck looks like even with my magnifying glass or if I can actually capture it with my net, but I do know that it brings good feelings and family togetherness. So in this year of the Tiger, I wish you "Gung Hay Fat Choy," Happiness and Prosperity and hope that life roars for you this year.

Date Posted: February 1998

Email your comments to: Stella Fong


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