To celebrate the New Year, our Chinese II class went to Webster University for their Chinese
New Year Celebration. They enjoyed free food, acrobats and some unique Chinese culture
lessons. Check out the pictures to see what a great time they had! We even made it into the St.
Louis Chinese American News!
Check it out at http://www.scanews.com/2012/02/s1119/111903/
To educate all of us on this traditional holiday in the Chinese culture, Mr. Yuang sent out this
great e-mail. Read on to learn your ‘something new’ for the day!
Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is
known as “Spring Festival,” the literal translation of the Chinese name 春節 (Pinyin: Chūn Jié),
owing to the difference between Western and traditional Chinese methods for computing the
seasons. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western carnival. The festival
begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: Zhēng Yuè) in the traditional
Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year’s
Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chú Xī
(除夕) or “Eve of the Passing Year.” Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New
Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year”.
Chinese Year 2012 (23 January 2012 – 9 February 2013) is the Year of Dragon.
The Dragon is magnificent. In China, the Dragon is the imperial symbol, the sign of the emperor
and the male element of Yang. The Dragon is also synonymous with power and wealth.
The Dragon falls on the following years: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and
It is said that people born in the year of the Dragon carry a natural charisma and are gifted with
power and luck. They are egoistical and ambitious, almost to the point of megalomania, and
will stop at nothing to get what they want. They can be successful as actors, singers, bankers,
financiers, politicians, or pharmacists and are quite comfortable in the place of many other
professions. Some famous people born in the year of the Dragon are Bruce Lee (1940), Florence
Nightingale (1820), Paul Allen (1952), and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844).
The Chinese Zodiac (Chinese: 生肖 / Sheng xiao ) relates each Chinese calendar year to an
animal, based on a 12-year cycle. It is a widely popular system used informally in many Asian
countries, including China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
Why Is the Dragon the Fifth Animal in the Chinese Zodiac?
Once upon a time, the Jade Emperor prepared to select twelve animals to be recognized as the
zodiac (生肖shēngxiāo) signs. In accordance with the decree, the first twelve animals to arrive
on the appointed day would be selected as the animals of the zodiac. The cat asked the mouse
to help it sign up, but the mouse forgot and the cat wasn’t chosen. Ever since, the cat and
mouse have been enemies. Other animals wanted to choose the ox for the first place. When
the ox walked into the hall, the mouse rode upon his back and was seen first. So then, the
mouse took the first place in the zodiac. The tiger and dragon didn’t accept the decision, but
were granted as kings of the mountain and sea in retribution. Next, the rabbit didn’t accept the
other positions and ran a race with the dragon to take the fourth spot. That’s how the dragon
became the Fifth Animal in the Chinese Zodiac.
Happy New Year of the Dragon. 龙年快乐！(Lóng nián kuàile!)