CHINESE NEW YEAR 2015: The Year of the Sheep

Shaker Run - Monday, February 16, 2015

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4713 begins on February 19, 2015.

Interesting Background: Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on  Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha names a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in sheep years are often artistic, charming, sensitive and sweet. It is known as the most creative sign in the Chinese zodiac.

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 ... believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead.

Why not surprise someone on Thursday, February 19th with a greeting of "Happy New Year" and see what kind of reaction you get!

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