Cultural Focus: Happy Chinese New Year!

A couple at Tianamen Square, Beijing, China, Asia

 The year of the Rabbit is over. 2012 marks the year of the Dragon.  The Chinese New Year, beginning on January 23rd, is a 14 day holiday celebrated with fireworks, time off from work, red paper decorations, rice dumplings and family reunions. People light candles and carry lit lanterns to an evening parade on the final 15th day. My friend, Ellen, who currenly lives in Beijing, reports that fireworks are going off like crazy, but you can’t see a spark because of the smog.

I can understand celebrating the new year. But what’s this business about the year of a certain animal? Well, according to legend, Buddha once asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came. He named a year after each one, associating personal traits with animal traits. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave, and passionate. Like Salvador Dali. (For lots and lots of detailed info about the Chinese zodiac dragon check out this link.)



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