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June 1, 2016

Celebrating the Lunar New Year!

Today we celebrate the Lunar New Year with lots of family gatherings, delicious meals and special foods, and red envelopes (lucky money) for children and young singles. The festivities and celebrations will continue for many days!

Traditionally, firecrackers are lit during the holiday, for festivities and to ward off evil. The 15th day of the New Year is the Lantern Festival, when children play with papier-mâché lanterns shaped like rabbits, tigers, dragons, and other animals. I can’t wait to light the horse lantern with my younger cousins this weekend!

The Chinese New Year celebration revolves around serious eating! It’s not unusual to have 10 to 12 dishes at a family reunion table. And we start celebrating early, beginning with an important tradition for a full family gathering and meal before the New Year kicks in. Our family dinner was last Wednesday and my belly is still full!

2014 is the Year of the Horse—a lucky year according to the Chinese. (Just like a horseshoe is supposed to be a symbol of good luck.) Horse is pronounced “ma” in Chinese. This is a year to look ahead, not back. As the Chinese would say, “A good horse never turns its head to eat the grass behind.”

You are a Horse if you were born in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, or of course on or after January 31, 2014. Horse people may be a little untamed, but they can also be popular, cheerful, talented, independent, and skillful with money. My father is a horse…yes, I can see when he can be “untamed,” but I’m not sure he’s so skillful with money (LOL).

Other famous Horse people include Nelson Mandela, Louisa May Alcott, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Harrison Ford, Paul McCartney, and Genghis Khan!

The horse will be galloping in after the snake (2013) exits. The Chinese zodiac runs on a 12-year cycle, each year symbolized by an animal. The other 10 other animals in the zodiac are sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, and dragon.

Well, the Year of the Snake has been good to me, and I’m looking forward to a prancing, cheerful Year of the Horse! And here’s wishing you “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (Happy New Year) and “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (May you be prosperous!).



About the Author: Jennifer is a first-generation “ABC” (American Born Chinese). The Lunar New Year is her favorite holiday (it’s bigger than Christmas)!

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January 31, 2014