新年快樂 Happy Year of the Horse!

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The Year of the Horse

The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, which begins on January 31, 2014, is the most important holiday in China, as well as for many people of Chinese origin throughout the world – including the nearly 30,000 people of Chinese heritage living in Irvine.

The Chinese zodiac, the cycle of twelve stations or “signs” along the apparent path of the sun through the cosmos, plays an important part in the calendar, and each new year is marked by the characteristics of one of the 12 animals of the zodiac: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

This year is a Year of the Horse.

A Year of the Horse is considered to be fortunate and filled with luck, as well as a time of adventure and an excellent year for travel.

Those born in the Year of the Horse are said to be extremely confident and independent.

The Chinese New Year holiday was traditionally a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family together for feasting.  Today, the holiday remains a time for family, food, and the celebration of traditional Chinese culture.

My friend Albert Wu, a young Irvine-based violinist, violin teacher, and founder of Irvine Young Concert Artists (IYCA), explains his family’s traditions:

“Get ready for Jan. 31 to welcome the Year of the Horse!  The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday for the Chinese, in which they celebrate family and a new beginning.  The New Year begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar, which is different from the Western calendar.  Before the holiday arrives, people will completely clean the house in order to get rid of the old and prepare to welcome the new. After the cleaning comes the decorating, and most of the decorations are red in color because that color signifies good luck. The New Year’s Eve meal is the most important meal of the year where families get together for a dinner reunion. They may choose to eat at home, go to a restaurant (which often has to be booked months in advance), or hire a chef to cook at their house. The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days, during which families often rotate which relative’s house they will eat at.  Fish is normally served at the New Year’s Eve dinner, and dumplings, because fish and dumplings are thought to be good luck and to bring a family prosperity in the New Year.  Wait… Who wants to celebrate with me for next 15 days?”

I do!!

Chinese New Year Events in Irvine this Weekend

chinese school new year horseThis weekend I will be celebrating the Chinese New Year at two special events in Irvine.

First, I will be attending a special “Lunar New Year Celebration”  at the at the Irvine Metrolink  Station, 15215 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92618, at 8:00 a.m.

The first 100 people there will receive a free round-trip Metrolink ticket to Los Angeles Union Station (first come, first served) to join Celebrate the Year of the Horse by visiting the 115th Annual Golden Dragon Parade and Festival in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, one of the premier cultural events in southern California.  Enjoy a special Lunar New Year program with traditional Lion Dancers. Bring your family to taste the delicious free refreshments provided by Champagne Bakery and 85° Bakery Cafe.  For a chance to spin the OCTA prize wheel, bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. After the fun at the Irvine Station, take Metrolink to Los Angeles for the popular Golden Dragon Parade. Train departs from Irvine Station at 9:00 a.m.

I will also be celebrating the Year of the Horse at the “Chinese New Year Exhibition and Performance” at the Irvine Chinese School, located at 9 Truman, Irvine, 92620, on Saturday, February 1, 2014, at 5:30 and 6:30 PM.

This performance has been a tradition for over 35 years. The school lobby will open to the public from 5:30 PM for the exhibition. The performance starts from 6:30 PM.

Here are the details:

What: Lunar New Year Celebration (and chance at a free round-trip to the Golden Dragon Parade in LA’s Chinatown
Where: Irvine Metrolink Station, 15215 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92618
When: Saturday, February 1, 2014, at 8:00 AM
Info: 714-560-6282.

What: Chinese New Year Exhibition and Performance
Where: Irvine Chinese School, 9 Truman, Irvine 92620
When: Saturday, February 1, 2014, at 5:30 PM (Exhibition) and 6:30 PM (Performance)
Info: For tickets, contact Rachel@sccca.us or call 949-554-6868 ex.502

新年快樂

Happy New Year!