Happy New Year!


Loud bangs and the whistles of firecrackers, the dragon dancing through the narrow streets, a cacophony of clashing cymbals and banging drums - these are the time-honored traditions of the Chinese New Year celebrated all over the world. It marks not only a new beginning, with fresh hope for the future, but also the approach of Spring, with displays of fruit and flowers signifying seasonal abundance to come. It is also a traditional time to honor ancestors.
Red is the color of the day, from the exotic costumes of the revelers to the black Chinese characters painted on red paper adorning the doors and windows of the houses. Colorful posters of children and household gods are prominent, and the greeting "Gung-Hee-Fat-Choy!" (Happy New Year) rings through the air.
The Chinese New Year (or "Spring Festival") is a 2-week festival, which has been celebrated in China for over 5,000 years. The year 2006 is the "Year of the Dog," which starts on January 29th and ends on February 17th, 2007. Chinese communities all over the world will be holding their own celebrations, but undoubtedly the biggest in North America is in San Francisco, where it all started in the U.S. in the 1860s.