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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

This is Grace during our Chinese New Year celebration last year...2006, The Year of the Dog. Kipper was so very proud! A whole year dedicated to dogs! Or so he thought...
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important
celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4705 begins on Feb. 18, 2007. Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
The Chinese characters above represent the words, Life is beautiful...and so it is.
It is now 2007, or 4705 by the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Pig. Kip is so depressed.
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in pig years tend to have excellent manners, make and keep friends, work very hard, and appreciate luxury. They are very loving and make loyal partners.
Fireworks and Family Feasts At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.
The Lantern Festival In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events. Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival on the fifteenth day of the month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.
In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

9 comments:

The Polka Dot Pixie said...

Happy Chinese New Year!!! Your daughter is adorable!

TK Angels said...

Loved the post. Give Gracie a hug for me and tell her and everyone that I wish a Happy Chinese New Year.

Love,
Terri

Sharon Kay said...

Wishing Grace a Happy Chinese New Yesr. She is a lovely young lady and I enjoyed reading your post about her and her holiday.

Andi said...

Loved your post Sue! I leared so much from it about the Chinese New Year. Is there somewhere we can go on the internet to find out what it was the "year of" when we were born?

Grace looks so pretty! Happy New Year to all of you!

Andi said...

I found it! I was born in The Year of the Tiger!

ikkinlala said...

That's a great picture!

When I was younger we used to celebrate Chinese New Year with a friend of the family - we even made our own dragon one year (with a cardboard box and an afghan).

Kentucky Gal said...

Grace is a doll!!
I loved finding out even more about this holiday!!
:-D

Deb said...

What a gorgeous post! Thank you for sharing all your wonderful family traditions.

Jen said...

Very interesting...Happy New Year Grace