Chinese New Year
In the mid ‘70s, my husband and I attended a private Chinese New Year celebration at Leo’s Place in downtown Denver (closed many years ago). We knew owner Leo Gotto as a member of the Denver Centennial/Bicentennial Committee my husband chaired. If I remember correctly, decorations consisted of lanterns strung around the ceiling and lucky red envelopes, which sometimes hold money but not thisnight, on the tables. Each guest received a special favor along with a multi-course dinner of traditional Chinese specialties and drinks. A fun, informative evening.
Chinese New Year celebrations are on a par with Western traditions of Christmas – family, friends, gifts and food. Of course, parades of lanterns and dragons enhance the festivities. The 2011 Hong Kong parade includes 36 entries from 11 countries.
Chinese calendars run in twelve year cycles based on both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Each year is represented by an animal zodiac sign. This year, the Year of the Rabbit, begins February 3, 2011, and ends January 22, 2012. Were you born in a year of the Rabbit - 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999.
Every animal sign has its good and bad points. The rabbit symbol represents longevity and supposedly has a close relationship with the moon. Westerners talk about the “man in the moon,” but Chinese see the Rabbit standing by a rock holding a cup overflowing with an immortality elixir.
Rabbit people are orderly, calm, considerate, organized, detail oriented, intellectual, successful, and conservative. They make good teachers and supervisors. Those under Rabbit signs possess an eye for fashion, color, and enjoy the arts, especially when related to music and painting. They hold other characteristics. Do a Google search and discover everything that supposedly represents those born in a Rabbit year. Don’t be surprised if sites differ in their explanations.
Loveland began a few days ago a two-week Chinese New Year celebration called “Threads of China.” Events occur all over the city, but mainly at the Rialto Theatre and Loveland Museum/Gallery – everything from performances, lectures, art exhibits, and classes for both children and adults.
The museum presents “Envision China Modern” now through February 13th, which features artwork by the Luo Brohers, Yan-Zhou Xu, and Zhang Peili. Classes include cooking and kite making. Check www.cityofloveland.org/Museum to discover all event dates and times.
The Asian Café & Grill sponsors a 4 to 7 p.m. February 3rd celebration of traditions, flavors, and festivities including the tradition of red envelopes, lantern festivals and Chinese stories. They also host, on February 5th at 6 p.m., a Chinese New Year Dinner. The cost of $50 per person includes an eight-course meal of traditional Chinese food.
The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University lends its “Legacy of China” exhibit to the Loveland Museum’s Green Room on January 28 with a reception from 5-7 p.m and a discussion on Chinese robes by Sarah Deli at 6 p.m. The display of artifacts - elaborate silk robes, tiny lotus slippers, and embroidered cloth - runs through March 6.
A search of nearby cities - Longmont, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley - revealed few, if any, special events for Chinese New Year.
Learn more about the Chinese culture and plan a party. The Teacher’s Corner website http://tinyurl.com/5wuksm7 lists printable activities for children. At http://tinyurl.com/6l2k9uo, you’ll find instructions for an adult party. The site provides information on the meaning of various decorations and suggests food, drink, and color choices.
Children’s party plans can be found at http://tinyurl.com/96kxx. Discover ideas for inexpensive invitations, decorations, games, activities, arts and crafts, fun food, and favors.
Gung Hay Fat Choy! In other words, “best wishes and congratulations – have a prosperous and good year.”