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Celebrate Lunar New Year Along the Peninsula

2013 is the Year of the Snake. Is this your Chinese zodiac sign?

A lot of people cringe at the thought of snakes, but if you're a Peninsula resident born in the Year of the Snake, as described by the Lunar New Year calendar, you are a quick learner, led by wisdom and intuition.

As Americans celebrate 2013, it can be interesting to take a look at what it means on the Lunar calendar. 

Followers of the Chinese zodiac believe each person has personality traits similar to the animal character for the year he or she was born. For 2013, the year of the snake, snakes are said to like the best things in life and are mysterious, quiet and deep thinkers.

Events along the Peninsula

The City of Redwood City is hosting its 3rd Annual Lunar New Year Festival in
Courthouse Square & San Mateo County History Museum (Free Museum Admission this day.) The celebration will feature lion dancers, red panda acrobats, martial arts, kids arts & zodiac themed crafts, food, inflatable Playland and more! Saturday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The Foster City Parks and Recreation Department will present Chinese Lunar New Year’s Eve Celebration that will feature presentations from arts and cultural groups throughout the Bay Area. The event will be held Sunday, Feb. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lagoon Room of the Recreation Center. Admission is free.

San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. Named one of the top 10 parades in the world, it will feature a 250-foot-long dragon. The festival dates back to the 1860's, and is considered the largest celebration of Chinese culture outside of Asia. Saturday, Feb. 23, at 5:15 p.m. Starts at Market and Second Street, ends at Kearny and Jackson Street. Street viewing is free, grandstand seats are $30.

Sunday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Famous people born in the year of the snake include Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Picasso, Martha Stewart and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

More on the Chinese New Year:

Since the Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar, which also uses lunar and solar calendar systems, the new year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February, explains Apples for the Teacher, an educational website. Due to the track of the new moon, the 2013 Chinese New Year begins on Feb. 10.

The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the most important social and economic holiday in China, history.com says. It was a time to honor household and heavenly deities and ancestors, and to bring family together for feasting.

Chinese have joined the Western world in celebrating Jan. 1 as New Year’s Day, but China continues to celebrate Chinese New Year, as the Spring Festival. On the fifth day of the New Year, businesses often light firecrackers in the belief it will bring prosperity and good fortune. The 15th day of the 15-day holiday includes The Festival of Lanterns and marks the end of the celebrations.

Symbols for Chinese New Year include red envelopes filled with money, given to children and unmarried adults with no job. The red color is for good luck and abundance. And the dragon, which is present in many Chinese celebrations, often is present in dancing performances on the 15th day of the new year. The dragon represents prosperity and good luck and good fortune, with many traditional Chinese thinking of themselves as descendants of the mythical creature.

The Chinese New Year’s Eve meal is the most important dinner of the year, history.com adds. Families gather at a relative’s house or a restaurant, with many restaurants requiring reservations months ahead of time. Or, a professional chef might be hired to cook at someone’s house. Traditional foods include Eight Treasures Rice with rice, walnuts, dried fruit, raisins, sweet red bean paste, dates and almonds. Also, there are chicken, duck, fish and pork dishes, and Tang Yuan, a black sesame rice ball soup, or Won Ton soup. For sweets, there is Song Gao, or loose cake, made of coarsely ground rice made into a small, round cake.

Whats your birth year?

Horse — Energetic, independent, impatient, enjoys travel

  • 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906

Ram — Mild-mannered, shy, kind, peace-loving

  • 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907

Monkey — Fun, energetic, active

  • 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908

Rooster — Independent, practical, hard-working, observant

  • 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921, 1909

Dog — Patient, diligent, generous, faithful, kind

  • 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910

Pig — Loving, tolerant, honest, appreciates luxury

  • 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923, 1911

Rat — Quick-witted, smart, charming, persuasive

  • 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, 1900

Ox — Patient, kind, stubborn, conservative

  • 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913, 1901

Tiger — Authoritative, emotional, courageous, intense

  • 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914, 1902

Rabbit — Popular, compassionate, sincere

  • 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915, 1903

Dragon — Energetic, fearless, warm-hearted, charismatic

  • 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916, 1904

Snake — Charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, smart

  • 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917, 1905
Beatrice Karnes February 09, 2013 at 05:16 PM
And don't forget the Pan-Asian Music Festival at Stanford University thru Sunday! http://patch.com/A-11s4

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