Sunday, January 29, 2006


The Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday celebrated among Chinese people. It is often referred to as the spring festival because it signals the beginning of spring. It is a time when families and friends get together to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.

The Chinese believe that as they enter a new year, they should put behind them all things of the past. They clean their houses (I wonder if Brian knew this when he made me clean the house all morning - because my birthday was YESTERDAY...not TODAY so today you can clean - he said!), pay off debts, purchase new clothes (I did buy some new baby clothes yesterday!), paint their doors and window panes, and even get new haircuts. These activities symbolize new life and new beginnings.

Homes are decorated with flowers and paper lanterns stating wishes of prosperity, good luck, happiness, good fortune, wealth, and longevity for the coming year.The dragon is another popular symbol for Chinese New Year. It is a symbol of strength, goodness, and good luck, and supernatural forces. A Chinese New Year celebration would not be complete without fireworks, which are supposed to scare away all evil spirits and misfortunes, preventing them from coming into the New Year.

Because Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar, rather than the solar calendar used in the US, the holiday never falls on the same day. On a lunar calendar, the New Year begins the first night of the new moon after the sun enters Aquarius (ironic since Sara is an Aquarius!!). This date is anywhere between January 20 and February 19.

This lunar year is the year of the dog. It is neat to think that if our child has not yet been born, she will be born in the year of the dog. If she has already been born, then she is a rooster!


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