Get Ready for the Sheep!

Nearly half of the globe’s population believes in and celebrates Chinese or Lunar New Year. Should a busy family try to win the attention of the Green Wooden Sheep? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Chinese New Year, called Lunar New Year in Korea, has been celebrated for more than 4,000 years. Originating during the Shang Dynasty (about 17th–11th century B.C.), Chinese or Lunar New Year celebrates family and represents the advent of spring. This year it is celebrated from February 19–25.

First, let’s understand our sheep and what influence he/she may bring. The sheep are the artists of the zodiac. The sheep is kind, sweet, peaceful and generous. They like support from their group and are good team players. Since the zodiac has twelve signs, a person is a sheep if born this year or turning any multiple of twelve. If someone you know is turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, flatter them. They love to be complimented. Sheep love deeply but they like to hear it first. Tell your sheep you love or appreciate them – loyalty or passion will be your reward.

To please the Green Wooden Sheep: Clean out your closet. Straighten your kitchen. Decorate with some bamboo (strong) and flowers.

The sheep is an herbivore, so all things green are good. Drink green tea, have a green juice smoothie and push the veggies. If kale tends to rot in your refrigerator, green candies will do.

For a period of time each day leading up to the New Year and then throughout February 19, open the windows. The stale air of the past exits and new opportunities and good luck are swept in. Make this a game to play with the kids. I know it’s freezing, but brave the elements and let the good luck breeze wash over you, especially on February 19, New Year’s night. Tolerate the necessary evil to get the luck.

On New Year’s Day, share a meal with your kids and talk only about the future and its possibilities. Do not talk about the past at all. For your Chinese New Year’s meal on February 19, eat at an authentic Chinese restaurant if you can. Dumplings are awesome and most kids love them. If not, wonton soup with white rice is fine. Seafood represents wealth if you can get your kids to eat it. If it’s too tough to get out, eat long noodles with chopsticks at home. Your kids will end up slurping them down but that’s half the fun.

Have fun with your kids. Make Chinese lanterns. Or have a scavenger hunt! Little pouches with small tokens or money are lucky for children, so have them search for coins.

This is a year of soul searching. But, the sheep is a worrier. So a note on that – soul searching should not be obsessive! You can be obsessive next year. Try to avoid being indecisive, moody or pessimistic too. It will all work out if you keep moving forward.

Wish your Asian friends and neighbors a successful sheep year. The sheep is not known for big moves, so savor many special small moments this year. Start with embracing your inner sheep and celebrate a second “Happy New Year.”

This article originally appeared in Boston Parents Paper.