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February 5, 2013 > Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

By Julie Grabowski

Chinese New Year arrives on Sunday, February 10, signaling the beginning of new life, hope for the future, and blessings for family and friends. Also known as the Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year is determined by the movements of a lunar calendar, which can place the day anywhere between late January and mid-February.
Dating back to the reign of Emperor Huang Ti in 2600 BC, the calendar follows a 12-year cycle with each year bearing the name of an animal. A traditional story tells of how Lord Buddha called all the animals to him before he was to leave the earth, but only 12 came to wish him farewell. To show his appreciation for their presence Lord Buddha named a year after each animal in order of their arrival beginning with the rat. The animals that followed were an ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

2013 welcomes the sixth sign of the zodiac, the snake, an animal thought to be a good omen if found in your house because it means your family won't starve. Those born in the Year of the Snake are considered to be intelligent and wise, insightful, cunning, and naturally intuitive. Lucky colors for snakes are yellow and red, with lucky numbers being 2, 4, 7, and 9. Those looking for love will find ideal compatibility with people whose zodiac sign is either the ox or the rooster.

Chinese New Year activities are focused on renewal and releasing the past to the past, and are exercised in the purchase of new clothes, payment of debts, and a thorough house cleaning with fresh coats of red paint applied to doors and windows. Red is believed to be a lucky color that repels evil, and is found in decorations, clothes, and the Chinese red envelopes of money, given to bring luck, happiness, and prosperity to both recipient and giver. Food also plays a large role in celebrations, traditional dishes carrying old Chinese beliefs and symbolizing good wishes for those gathered.

Tri-City residents can learn about Chinese culture and history by participating in several events going on around town and further afield.

Chinese Restaurant Foundation celebrates all month long in Newark with their International Festival, which offers exhibits of art, culture, travel, and food related to Chinese cuisine and history. Local restaurants will be catering the event and children can take home goodie bags.

Citizens For a Better Community, South Bay Chinese Club, and Association of Northern California Chinese Schools ring in the Year of the Snake at Fremont Main Library on February 9 with crafts, martial arts demonstrations, dance, music and much more. Music, dance, storytelling, and Kung-Fu will be from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. in the Fukaya Meeting Room, while crafts and traditional art demonstrations will take place from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. in the Children's Area.

NewPark Mall invites the community to its celebratory event on February 10 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. where the traditional Lion Dance will be performed along with a martial arts demonstration and other family fun activities.

For those interested in a more spectacular celebration, look no further than the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco. This annual festival goes back to the 1860s and has grown into one of the largest cultural celebrations, captivating over three million spectators and TV viewers throughout the U.S., Canada, and Asia. Held on Saturday, February 23, attendees will enjoy fabulous floats, costumes, lions, firecrackers, and an appearance by Miss Chinatown U.S.A. and her court.

The FUN Sunset Rotary Club (Fremont, Union City, Newark) is hosting its 7th annual Lunar New Year Dinner at the Mayflower Restaurant in Union City on Sunday, February 24. The evening includes a 10-course dinner and dessert, no host wine bar, Lion Dance, lucky envelopes, silent auction, raffle and prizes. Call (510) 266-3504 for reservations.

Chinese New Year International Festival
Feb 1 - Feb 28
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Mon-Fri)
12 Noon - 4 p.m., Weekends (except Saturdays, Feb 9 & 16)
Chinese Restaurant Foundation
8407 Central Ave., Newark
(510) 797-0808

Chinese New Year Celebration
Saturday, Feb 9
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Fremont Main Library
2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont
(510) 745-1421

Chinese New Year - Year of the Snake
Sunday, Feb 10
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
NewPark Mall
JCPenny court
2086 NewPark Mall, Newark
(510) 794-5523

Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Festival and Parade
Saturday, Feb 23
5:15 p.m.
Second and Market Streets, San Francisco
(415) 340-3055

Lunar New Year Dinner
Sunday, Feb 24
6 p.m.
Mayflower Restaurant
34348 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City
(510) 266-3504
Cost: $60 per person

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