2012 is the year of the Dragon and it has significant meaning. It is considered the most important year of the Chinese zodiac. It represents ambition, success, passion, boldness, perseverance and divinity. Children born during dragon years are expected to enjoy health, wealth and long life.
[singlepic id=42 w=320 h=240 float=]Chinese New Year is extra special to me. To be multicultural and have an understanding of a different culture is enriching. It allows me to be in touch with myself and my heritage that I feel such a strong connection to. I love all the celebrations, the meaning behind it, the dancing, the laughter, all the people coming together not to mention the food and pastries that you can ONLY get during this time of year. Believe me my freezer gets really really full!
[singlepic id=40 w=320 h=240 float=]The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar and is a celebration of the New Year. While it can last up to a month it traditionally lasts 15 days. This year it started on Jan. 23rd.
[singlepic id=41 w=320 h=240 float=]To understand more about the 15-day Chinese New Year festival let me explain some Chinese culture background. Thousands of years ago, China was mainly an agriculture society. Each year, the dynasty government announced annual calendar for farmers. The calendar contained the solar, lunar and weather information for people to know when to seed, plant and harvest on their land and even when to work, rest, pray and celebrate for their activities. Farmers knew they could count on the sky for their living. The sky is connected to heaven and heaven is related to religion. The major activity of the religion is to pray to gods for good luck, wealth, health, wisdom, career, longevity, peace, and happiness at temple or home.
[singlepic id=44 w=320 h=240 float=]The traditions that go on during the Chinese holiday include forgiving past conflicts, hosting elaborate feasts, setting off fireworks and giving children money in red envelopes. The Year of the Dragon is believed to bring success and happiness. The final day a lantern festival takes place in which red lanterns are hung outside houses.
Some other traditions that are important to do during the New Year is to clean your home and sweep away bad luck. Decorate your house with the color red because red means good luck. Take this time to visit friends & relatives and do not argue with people. This is a time of peace and a time to show appreciation.
I’m sure many of you have been to a Chinese restaurant and have seen the little paper placemats with animals around them. As I mentioned above 2012 is the year of the Dragon. Find your year below and see what your animal represents for you.
Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008) — Charming, well-organized, creative, ambitious
Ox (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) — Patient, loyal, determined, easy going
Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010) — Brave, warm, sincere, daring
Rabbit (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011) — Selfless, neat, humble, quiet
Dragon (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012) — Imaginative, strong, fun, energetic
Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001) — Mysterious, quiet, deep thinker
Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002) — Competitive, cheerful, talented, hard worker
Sheep (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003) — Affectionate, trusting, artistic
Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004) — Humorous, inventive, smart
Rooster (1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005) — Determined, proud, confident.
Dog (1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006) — Loyal, trustworthy, likeable, sympathetic
Pig (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007) — Industrious, hardworking, good-natured
Here are a few places to check out for Chinese New Year Festivities
CHINATOWN LA: Jan. 28th The Chinese Chamber of Commerce presents The 113th Golden Dragon Parade from 1-4pm with many other festivities going on before and afterwards.
TET FESTIVAL IN GARDEN GROVE
Sponsored by the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California, the Tet Festival in Garden Grove is celebrating its 30th year in 2012. Festivities include dragon dancers, pageants, entertainment, rides, food and cultural booths.
When: January 27-29, 2012, Fri 3-10 pm, Sat 10 am – 10 pm, Sun 10 am – 9 pm
Where: Garden Grove Park, 9301 Westminster Blvd, Garden Grove, CA, 92844
Cost: $5 adults, $4 children 48″ and under, babies and toddlers Free.
Parking: at the park Info: www.tetfestival.org
LUNAR NEW YEAR AT DISNEYLAND
Disneyland will celebrate the Lunar New Year with performances by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese musicians and dancers in front of “it’s a small world.” Disneyland park guests will also be able to visit with Mulan, Mushu and other Disney characters.
When: January 20-29, 2012, regular park hours
CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL IN MONTEREY PARK
Floral Fair features flower arranging, food, entertainment, arts and crafts for all ages and carnival rides.
When: January 28-29, 2012, Sat 9:30 am – 5 pm
Where: Garvey Ave between Garfield and Nicholson Avenues, Monterrey Park
Parking: Shuttles will be provided from three school parking lots. Parking Map