theGreat RaceDiscover the Myth Behind the Zodiac

As the Jade Emperor celebrated his birthday, he decided to hold a great race. Calling for all the animals to participate, the first 12 to finish would be given a place within the calendar, with each year being named after the animals in the order in which they finished.

To finish the race, the animals had to cross a large river to meet the Emperor. Each animal had its own strengths and, using their skills, navigated the river’s strong currents, creating the zodiac.

The fastest swimmer, Dog stayed to frolic in the river, and was named 11th in the zodiac.The Great Race

aYear of ProsperityCelebrate the Year of the Dog

Based off the lunisolar calendar, the lunar new year is the first day of the first lunar month – the second new moon after the winter solstice.

Celebrating the beginning of spring, and honoring deities and ancestors, the lunar new year has no set date, usually occurring between the third week of January and third week of February.

Defining the 12-year repeating cycles of the zodiac, each lunar year is named after an animal in the order of the Great Race.  The 11th to place in the race, the Year of the Dog begins February 16, 2018 and lasts until February 4, 2019.

 

Each zodiac animal has specific symbolism and meaning behind it; those born in a certain year will share similar attributes to the animal their birth year was named after. Every year also corresponds with one of five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth, offering unique characteristics to complement the attributes of the animal. Like man’s best friend, those born in the Year of the Dog are said to have the best traits of human nature. Loyal, honest, and vigilant, they have a strong sense of justice. The Year of the Dog will bring prosperity to all regardless of sign, while the element of earth will bring more stability throughout the year.

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theTraditions steeped in mythDiscover the Traditions Behind Lunar New Year

  The Origins Of Lunar New Year: A ferocious monster named Nian resided in the countryside…

  Spring Couplets: A huge peach tree once stood on a mountain in the ghost world…

  The Lucky Envelope: As each year ended, a demon named Sui brought illness to children as they lay sleeping…

  The Harmony of Heaven & Earth: Representing the unity and harmony of heaven and earth, the square within a circle is an ancient concept…

Discover

 

The Origins of Lunar New Year

A ferocious monster named Nian resided in the countryside, who would become very hungry as the winter ended. At the end of every year, it would attack and eat the people from nearby villages. Each year, the villagers would hide, until one year, they discovered Nian was afraid of the color red, fire and loud noises. As the new year approached, firecrackers were lit and red scrolls hung outside doors to ward the beast away. The red scrolls would have different blessings to welcome in the new year.

Spring Couplets

A huge peach tree once stood on a mountain in the ghost world. To the northeast, two guards named Shentu and Yulei guarded the entrance to the ghost world. They would catch any ghosts who harmed humans, and all ghosts were afraid of them. People would write the two guards’ names on pieces of peach wood to scare evil spirits away.

 Going back thousands of years ago, the couplets come from this old tradition of hanging charms written on peach wood, or taofu (桃符), during the lunar new year to scare any evil spirits away. During the Song Dynasty, couplets replaced the names of the guards, and eventually, the peach wood was replaced by red paper, symbolizing good luck and happiness. The spring couplets welcome in the new year and express wishes for good luck and prosperity upon the household.

Traditionally pasted outside houses and buildings, spring couplets consist of two vertical scrolls and a horizontal scroll. Made with brush and either black or gold ink, the couplets require excellent calligraphy skills in order to demonstrate the implicit good meaning of the couplet.

The Lucky Envelope

As each year ended, a demon named Sui brought illness to the village’s children as they lay sleeping. Wishing to protect their children from the demon, parents would stay up and pray for the entire night. One couple gave their child a red envelope with eight bronze coins, circular in shape with a square in the middle, representing the union of heaven and earth. The child played with the coins in the envelope, but eventually succumbed to sleep. Hearing the village’s prayers, eight fairies disguised themselves as the bronze coins, and, as Sui came to the child, shone so bright the demon could no longer see. Frightened, Sui ran from the village.  The villagers spread word about the shining coins, and gave out red envelopes to bring good luck and prosperity.

The Harmony Of Heaven & Earth 

Representing the unity and harmony of heaven and earth, the square within a circle is an ancient concept within Chinese philosophy, called Tian Yuan Di Fang (天圆地方). We encounter this not only in traditional script and art, but also in the design of architecture and gardens in China. Even in present day, this symbol holds an archetypal power, seen in the composition of modern architecture to provide balance and harmony between structures.

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weShop in traditionBalance & Harmony

Lucky Envelope Kit

Heavens encircle earth.
A harmonious union.
May this auspicious sign bring longevity,
prosperity and good fortune to you.

Celebrate the Year of the Dog with a modernist approach to the traditional Red Envelope and enjoy the lucky leaves within.

Impress your guests during Lunar New Year or any special Chinese occasion by giving the gift of harmony and good fortune with TEALEAVES’ lucky envelope – our modernist approach to the traditional “lai see” or “hong bao”.

Organic Imperial Oolong

All-seeing eyes reflect ancient knowledge. Flying in the dizzy heights, where the mists embrace stone, the mystical animal watches over the world below. Protection, strength, and instinct are the Dragon’s gifts. Celebrating only the finest leaves. Hand picked at dawn when flavor is at its peak.

Organic Long Life Green

Swirling waters shimmer with melodic movement. A ballet of color as two bodies slide one by another. Wisdom gained through a century of swims. What would you tell me, if you could talk? High in vitamins and anti-oxidants. Enjoyed for its subtle flavor and gentle character.

Other tea gift sets

FORTUNE GIFT SET

Celebrate Chinese tradition with these exceptional blends.

FLORAL JASMINE GREEN

Fresh, mellow overtones with a slightly astringent finish.

PU-ERH TOUCHA

Low in tannins with a thick, smooth, earthy flavor.

IMPERIAL TUNG TING OOLONG

Smooth and floral, with a sweet aftertaste, and slightly spicy.