Holidays #17 Chinese Lunar New Year

Celebrate The Year of The Dragon

This year Chinese New Year is on Monday, January 23, 2012. It is the year of the Dragon.  Chinese New Year does not fall on the same date each year, though it is always in January or February.  It celebrates the time-honored traditions and family celebrations of the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures.

When my daughter Grace was in preschool, her Chinese friend Alyssa shared part of her cultural tradition with her class and brought in chinese foods, treats and a mini dragon costume.  Kids went nuts and did a parade around the school.  Grace never forgets this holiday thanks to our sweet Alyssa.

Customs and traditions of the Chinese new year vary.  Individuals will hand out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. A popular family tradition includes thoroughly cleaning your house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Sounds right up my alley!  Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”.

On the Eve of Chinese New Year, dinner is a feast with families. Food includes dishes such as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The night ends with a big bang and firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes.  I found a dozen of these envelopes in Vegas for $3- go figure?  I plan to fill them with $2 bills and give them to the kids and family friends.  The kids will bring them into class on Monday for “show and tell” and hand out some fortune cookies to their classmates.  That night we will grab Pick Up Stix, sip tea and drink sparkling cider.  For the finale, I will let them loose with glow sticks outside and they can cruise around in a dragon line…this is how an Irish Catholic rolls on Chinese New Year!

The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.  We will do the same!

For my locals here in So Cal, it will be a Chinese New Year to remember as Beverly Hills celebrates the Year of the Dragon with a spectacular evening of entertainment, shopping and dining. The festivities unfold at 6pm tonight as an exciting Chinese lion dance and drum corps performance group takes center stage on the block for all to enjoy. Not only is the general public encouraged to join the revelry, but the first 1,000 people who register at the welcome table will also receive a Good Fortune envelope.  Beverly Hills tonight! 6 pm on the Fab 400 block of Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

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. We will hit this up with kids for sure sine we are passholders.
When: January 20-29, 2012, regular park hours

Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year Festival in Chinatown 
For 2012, the two-day Chinese New Year Festival in Chinatown has been canceled, but the Golden Dragon Parade will still take place.
When: January 28, 2012, Sat 1 pm
Where: Parade route starts at Main and Cesar Chavez, heads west on Cesar Chavez, north on Broadway, west on Bernard and south on Hill St. in Chinatown. Parade Route Map
Cost: Free to view from the street, $25 grandstand tickets available
Parking: Map
Metro: Gold Line to Chinatown Station

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