Every year Vancouver has wonderful Chinese New Year celebrations, and this year it starts today, January 26th. Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated with family and friends. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect.
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. There is always a wonderful parade in Chinatown here in Vancouver, attended by more than 100,000 people. Vancouver's Chinatown is mostly a tourist area now, filled with fabulous restaurants and stores. I love spending time there, and the munchkins and I often go there for Dim Sum.
This year is the Year of the Ox. The Ox symbolizes prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Those born under the influence of the Ox are fortunate to be stable and persevering. The typical Ox is a tolerant person with strong character. They are very tenacious when deciding to accomplish a task. Ox people work hard without complaints at work or at home. They know that they will succeed through hard work and sustained efforts, and do not believe in get-rich-quick schemes. The Ox people cherish their private lives and are not usually very adventurous. They can be loners. Ox people are great traditionalists, they like the familiar.
One year I had the privilege of being invited to spend a Chinese New Year luncheon with some Chinese friends of mine. It was so much fun. There was more food than I had ever seen before, and all the little girls were dressed in red velvet dresses, and the little boys in little tuxedoes with red vests. They were skipping around as only excited little kids can do! The best part for me is the parade with the lion dances and the Chinese dragon dances. The parade is always really noisy with drums and firecrackers and music, and everyone having a good time.
Kung Hei Fat Choy!