Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the Year of the Wood Horse. The Chinese New Year holiday lasts two weeks, from the new moon to the full moon, and each day has special significance. On the first day, people traditionally visit the elder members of their family and watch a lion dance performance. You can read about the meaning of each day of the holiday via Wikipedia. For a glimpse of how the New Year is celebrated in a rural Chinese village, ChinaFile has posted a beautiful slideshow showing the preparations and festivities. This video tells the story of the traditions of the New Year, and the monster Nian, who can only be chased away by loud noises and the color red:
If you are looking for ways to celebrate at home, InCulture Parent has posted a really useful round-up of craft projects, recipes and books. In our house, two books that are especially popular this year are The Year of the Horse: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac and The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale
And if you live in the Bay Area, both 510families and Red Tricycle have posted lists of local events celebrating the New Year. Our favorite annual event is the Oakland Museum celebration, which is a pan-Asian festival full of amazing performances and activities. The mocha pounding demonstration is always a highlight.