Question: If the 49th day after the passing of the deceased falls on the first day of the Chinese New Year (CNY), can the 7th post-death chanting ceremony be done before that day?
Answer: NO. It should be done accordingly on the actual day. Although with good will, CNY is but a worldly festival created by unenlightened humans, while the actual laws of nature, including that of karma and rebirth operate as they are, uncompromisingly. It is not wise to give in to human convention (and superstition that the so-called ‘inauspicious’ should be avoided on so-called ‘auspicious’ days), instead of abiding by universal laws taught by the Buddha.
Also, if the deceased is successfully guided to Pure Land on that day, that day becomes the most auspicious possible for the deceased, and surely for those concerned too. And if guidance is not offered when the deceased needs help, this surely makes that day inauspicious, with guilt for oneself and possible disappointment and resentment of the deceased.
Never underestimate the power of offering guidance and merits. It should not be done by going through motion, and should ideally be done by concerned family members too, who usually have the strongest karmic affinity and sincerity. Here is a recent case of the deceased manifesting an auspicious sign on the 49th day itself, (though the deceased might have already reached Pure Land earlier): https://purelanders.com/2019/01/25/already-sitting-on-a-lotus-flower
Although possible to take rebirth on any of the 49 days, and even sometimes beyond, the deceased is more likely to take rebirth on each of the 7 seventh days after death – on the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 35th, 42nd and 49th day. As such, there should be fuller practices done to guide so accordingly then. Ideally, this can be done every day too, using this sequence: https://purelanders.com/2016/07/19/what-should-be-chanted-during-after-a-funeral For more on exactly what to do before, during and after death, do look out for the next run of the ‘Destination Pureland’ course.