Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Happy Chinese New Year!
Jimmy and I ventured out on a very cold and wet Saturday night to watch the Chinese New Year Parade. In the 18 years that we've lived in the Bay Area, this was the 1st time we've gone to the parade because traffic and crowds have aways kept us away. But now that we live within walking distance to Chinatown, it'll become an annual event for us I'm sure.

Parade History (from the official parade blog):
In 1847 San Francisco was a sleepy little village known as Yerba Buena with a population of 459. With the discovery of gold and the ensuing California Gold Rush, by 1849, over 50,000 people had come to San Francisco to seek their fortune or just a better way of life. Among those were many Chinese, who had come to work in the gold mines and on the railroad. By the 1860's, the Chinese were eager to share their culture with those who were unfamiliar with it. They chose to showcase their culture by using a favorite American tradition - the Parade. Nothing like it had ever been done in their native China. They invited a variety of other groups from the city to participate, and they marched down what today are Grant Avenue and Kearny Street carrying colorful flags, banners, lanterns, and drums and firecrackers to drive away evil spirits.

Year of the Rabbit
The year of the Rabbit is traditionally associated with home and family, artistic pursuits, diplomacy, and keeping the peace. The Rabbit symbolizes such character traits as creativity, compassion, and sensitivity. Rabbits are friendly, outgoing and prefer the company of others. They also prefer to avoid conflict. In confrontational situations, Rabbits approach calmly and with consideration for the other party. Rabbits believe strongly in friends and family and lacking such bonds can lead to emotional issues.

These bobble headed characters amused me and scared me at the same time!

Beautiful and graceful dancers

Firecrackers to scare away the evil spirits

Several Lion Dancers

and dozens of dragons

But the grand finale is "Gum Lung" the 250 foot Golden Dragon and is powered by over 100 men and women from the White Crane martial arts group.

You can imagine that I took several hundred photos and a handful of videos so I compiled a slideshow with some of my favorites.

Jimmy and I were both born in the Year of the Monkey.
The Monkey possesses such character traits as curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of practical jokes. Even though their intentions are always good, this desire to be a prankster has a tendency to create ill will and hurt feelings. Although they are inherently intellectual and creative, Monkeys at times have trouble exhibiting these qualities. When that happens, they appear to others to be confused. But nothing could be further from the truth as Monkeys thrive on being challenged. Monkeys prefer urban life to rural, and their favorite pastime is people-watching.

What is your Chinese Zodiac?

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