I believe that this year is an auspicious year for me because my birthday coincided with the first day of Lunar New Year. It's also the first time I've worn a cheongsam (traditional Chinese dress) since I was about five so I decided to have a photoshoot done. In Chinese culture, red is an auspicious colour and symbolises good luck and happiness. People also believe it wards away evil.
Lunar New Year lasts for 15 days, ending on 8th February this year. These dates vary slightly from year to year (although they usually fall within the period of 21st January to 20th February) as the Festival is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which is in turn associated with the movement of the moon. It is the most important celebration in Chinese culture and is always preceded with a family reunion dinner the evening before the first day of the Festival. For me, it's often the only time in the year when I see distant relatives.
I used to take this reunion and its festivities for granted when I was younger but in recent years I've treasured this period of time so much more. I suppose being based abroad has played a part in this as now I don't often get to see my family and spend time with them. It's been four years since I last spent Chinese New Year at home in Singapore, and I hope next year it will be possible for me to do so.
Wishing everyone a year of good health, happiness and success. Happy Lunar New Year!