Capital Univ. Chapel Choir at Peace

The Capital University Chapel Choir kicked off its 2016 Concert Tour with a stirring performance at my church, Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna, OH on Feb. 25, 2016. I was delighted to hear Leif Nilsen and his fellow choir member sing here before they appear in NYC’s Carnegie Hall on Feb. 29th!

I have posted my photos from the concert on Facebook. Here are the video clips I managed to take with my little handheld Sony point-and-shoot camera and post on YouTube. I’m pleasantly surprised that my camera managed to capture some of the Choir’s magnificent sound. I hope these clips give you a sense of the majestic performance the capacity audience enjoyed.









Chinese New Year’s Day Taboos

There are things one shouldn’t do on or around Chinese New Year’s Day. Here’s a list to help you prepare.

From The Telegraph

To be avoided on the first day of the Chinese New Year:

  1. Medicine: Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year. 
  2. New Year’s breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten, because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don’t want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen. 
  3. Laundry: People do not wash clothes on the first and second day, because these two days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (水神, the Water God).
  4. Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year. In the Chinese language, hair (发) has the same pronunciation and character as ‘fa’ in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. Therefore, it is seen as not a good thing to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
  5. Sharp objects: The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and the depletion of wealth.
  6. Going out: A woman may not leave her house; otherwise she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year. A married daughter is not allowed to visit the house of her parents, as this is believed to bring bad luck to the parents, causing economic hardship for the family.
  7. The broom: If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.
  8. Crying children: The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents do their best to keep children as happy as possible.
  9. Theft: Having your pocket picked is believed to portend your whole wealth in the coming year being stolen.
  10. Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day, and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve. If someone who owes you money, do not go to his or her home to demand it. Anyone who does so it is said will be unlucky all the year.
  11. An empty rice jar: An depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety, as the cessation of cooking during the New Year period is considered to be an ill omen.
  12. Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.
  13. Killing things: Blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or a bloody disaster. 
  14. Monochrome fashion: White or black clothes are barred as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.
  15. Welcoming the New Year: According to tradition, people must stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year, and then to let off firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster.
  16. Giving of certain gifts: Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.

Here are other lists with similar superstitions:

http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/chinese-new-year-taboos.htm

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/486690-15-taboos-you-avoid-on-chinese-new-year-day/

http://my.72dragon.com/1291/chinese-new-year-taboo/

 

 

Year of the Monkey

Happy New Year!

Few Chinese Horoscope books contain overall prognostications for the year. In my large collection of these books, one of the few that does is the first edition of Theodora Lau’s The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, published in 1979. Unfortunately, in the later editions of this book, her overall predictions for each year have been removed.

To provide my friends with this interesting information, here is Ms. Lau’s overall forecast for the Year of the Monkey plus her predictions for how individuals will fare this year, given the animal that represents their birth year. (To determine what animal you are, see my table of animals for birth dates.)

Year of Monkey

The Year of the Monkey 
February 8, 2016 – January 27, 2017

Everything will be workable this year. At least the agile Monkey will not give up before trying every angle. There will be success even in impossible ventures, there will be inventions and improvisations galore. Politics, diplomacy, high finance and business will be engaged in one big poker game with everyone trying to outbluff each other. A rather amusing and exciting time in which everyone will be given the opportunity to try his hand at the game. No direct confrontation here, as the Monkey is one who can laugh off his mistakes and improve his bargaining prowess in the next round.

This is a year that will find us all trying to get a better deal by outsmarting the other man. It is hard to keep track of who is winning, as the right hand has no idea of what the left hand is up to. One thing is for sure, this will be an extremely progressive time. We will all steam ahead, and even if we do not apply ourselves to the utmost, we will be carried forward by the surging tide of the Monkey’s natural talent for learning and advancement.

The lucky imp of a Monkey who rules this year will urge us to gamble, speculate and exploit risky but ingenious options. If you are quick on the draw, this year will yield huge dividends. It is definitely not a year for the faint-hearted or slow-witted. The Monkey gives no concessions and asks none in return. If there is a recession, the year of the Monkey will quickly put an end to it. Business will skyrocket under his optimistic and shrewd influence. The Monkey’s resourcefulness will amaze and confound everyone.

It is very interesting to note that America was born in the year of the Fire Monkey, 1776. Perhaps this explains her phenomenal growth and fantastic achievements within such a short span of time.

It is said that the Monkey’s year will bring many new and unconventional ways of doing things. The motto of this year should be: “Don’t take No for an answer!”

How you will fare in the Year of the Monkey

Rat     The Rat will enjoy a fruitful year as no serious troubles are predicted on the home or business front. He will receive more good news than bad. However, he should avoid breaking friendships or partnerships at this time to avoid future repercussions.

Ox     A lucky and prosperous year for the Ox. He will be feted or sought after by important people. Good tidings in his family or a new job or promotion could await him. New ventures or partnerships can be foreseen.

Tiger     A trying year for the Tiger. Irritations and setbacks test his patience and powers of endurance. He should not voice his objections too loudly and avoid confrontations which could lead to lawsuits. He will entertain or travel more than usual and be forced to compromise.

Rabbit     A fair year for the Rabbit provided he is not too optimistic. Financial deals or contracts may meet with unexpected snags or fail to materialize due to the betrayal of a trusted ally. His family life remains calm but he could experience several minor illnesses that impede his progress.

Dragon     A mixed year for the Dragon. Progress can be foreseen in his career and financial undertakings but he must not be deceived by favorable preliminary results or else he could get caught in legal tangles. Broken friendships or romantic quarrels can result if he, is too determined to have everything done his way. A time for compromises and heeding the advice of others.

Snake     A good year as the Snake will find help when he needs it most. He may still be involuntarily drawn into disputes but things will burn themselves out if he does not add fuel to the fire. Still, these adverse conditions may cause undue anxiety. A year to remain conservative or neutral.

Horse     A lucky year for the Horse, as sudden gains or unlikely benefits are foreseen. He will be able to find whatever he is searching for, but he must also be careful about freak accidents that are likely to occur. There may be sad news in the family, but the troubles of others will not affect him personally.

Sheep     A good year for the Sheep. Recognition or promotion at work gives him a sense of fulfillment and he will enjoy a busy but rewarding year. Opposition is negligible and health problems minor.

Monkey     An excellent time for the Monkey native. He can start his own business as achievements, happiness and recognition are indicated. He will make fantastic progress. Headaches will come mainly from subordinates, debtors or people who finance his bold undertakings. Health problems stem from overexertion.

Rooster     A mixed year. The Rooster is faced with financial problems, failure in business or career, or personal suffering at home. He is prone to make errors in judgment, so he must not rely on outside information but investigate everything thoroughly on his own. Things may look better than they actually are.

Dog     A fair year. It will be hectic and not as fruitful as the Dog expects, but there will be good news or celebrations at home. Extra expenses, more traveling than usual or a change in residence are also foreseen. New friends and important people will fete him.

Boar     A moderately satisfying time for the Boar. He will suffer from a lack of money or support and various domestic and personal problems will occupy his mind. Results are not entirely favorable but he will be able to borrow money or join forces with other people and solve his difficulties.

–-

I found a website that offers a summary of “YOUR FORTUNE IN FIRE MONKEY YEAR”. Check out how you’ll fare in this prediction compared to Ms. Lau’s. http://susanlevitt.com/astrology/monkey-year-2016/