Chinese New Year 2012: Year of the Dragon | Good Fortune

To help you find fortune in the New Year, several customs and traditions are to be followed. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar.

A must-have in every Chinese household during Chinese New Year is a plate of nian gao (new year cake).  It symbolizes continuous prosperity in the new year.  But nian gao is only one of many New Year desserts.  A personal favorite of mine are sesame balls, which come in all sizes and whose filling may be sweet or savory.  These delicious treats resemble gold nuggets, so naturally they symbolize money and wealth.

I loved celebrating Chinese New Year as a child, not only because of the good food but also because it was lucrative!  It is a long-standing tradition that married adults give hong bao (“lucky money”) to children and unmarried people to wish them good luck in the New Year.  What other holiday allows a child to make a whopping $200 in a matter of hours? 

Alas, the loot wasn’t in my hands for long:  I had to give it to my mother for “safe keeping.”  As an eight-year-old, I didn’t understand her reasoning.  Why can’t I spend all my money on candy and toys?  What do you mean I have to learn to save?  Now as an adult I realize it was her way of teaching me to be a financially responsible person.

For some of us, it’s second nature to overspend.  In order to control my “natural” instinct to buy not one but two pair of pumps whenever there’s a mad sale at Nordstrom, I incorporate restraint and awareness into my daily routine.  Before I make that purchase I have to be aware of what I really need and how much I can afford.  If I realize I neither need nor can afford the extra pair, I will invoke the gods of restraint to help me turn away from that sales rack.

I have my mother to thank for teaching me the importance of smart spending.  For those who are still learning the ropes of financial responsibility and finding it difficult, do not get frustrated.  There are many methods and resources to put your financial house in order.  The right solution for you may be as simple as cutting down your consumption of gourmet coffee or the like — but if it’s a lot more complicated than that, you may need professional advice in order to get a fresh start on your finances.  We at the Mlnarik Law Group specialize in providing such assistance.  Give us a call and we’ll help you find the right direction and ultimately enjoy the fruits of your own hong bao.

Sun Lin Fai Lok to all!  May the New Year bring you prosperity and good fortune!

- Angie Tong, Bankruptcy Attorney

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