Lunar New Year
February 17 – March 2, 2018 begins the Lunar year 4716.
The Year of the Dog. Costumes and accessories from Etoile Costume & Party Center for the New Year celebrations. We have retail costumes and accessories as well as authentic costumes and headpieces brought back from a trip China by one of the owners a few years ago. We also carry decorations, lanterns, signs and noise makers.
The Lunar New Year Festival is the most significant holiday for Asian people around the world, regardless of the origin of their ancestors. The holiday is a very jubilant occasion mainly because it is the time when people take a break from work to get together with family and friends. New Year celebrations can last for 2 weeks.
Monterey Park Lunar New Year Celebration
Time: 2/3/18 (Sat.) 10:00 am-9:00 pm
2/4/18 (Sun.) 10:00 am-7:00 pm
7 blocks along Garvey Avenue, Monterey Park, CA.
(Between Ramona Ave. & Alhambra Ave.)
Monterey Park has one of the largest Asian communities in Southern California and hosts the largest Lunar New Year festival in Southern California. Well worth making this a day trip for the family. For additional information check the official website at: http://www.lunarnewyears.com/
The 119th Golden Dragon Parade
Downtown Los Angeles
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Click on the dragon above to visit the official website for the Golden Dragon Parade.
The origin of the Lunar New Year Festival can be traced back thousands of years through a continually evolving series of colorful legends and traditions. One of the most famous legends is that of Nien, an extremely cruel and ferocious beast, which the Chinese believe, eats people on New Year’s Eve. To keep Nien away, red-paper couplets are pasted on doors, torches are lit, and firecrackers are set off throughout the night, because Nien is said to fear the color red, the light of fire, and loud noises. Early the next morning, as feelings of triumph and renewal fill the air at successfully keeping Nien away for another year, the most popular greeting heard is kung-hsi, or “congratulations.”
Even though Lunar New Year celebrations generally only last for several days, starting on New Year’s Eve, the festival itself is actually about three weeks long. It begins on the twenty-fourth day of the twelfth lunar month, the day, it is believed, when various gods ascend to heaven to pay their respects and report on household affairs to the Jade Emperor, the supreme Taoist deity. According to tradition, households busily honor these gods by burning ritualistic paper money to provide for their traveling expenses. Another ritual is to smear malt sugar on the lips of the Kitchen God, one of the traveling deities, to ensure that he either submits a favorable report to the Jade Emperor or keeps silent.
Next, “spring couplets” are hung up around the house. Spring couplets are paper scrolls and squares inscribed with blessings and auspicious words, such as “good fortune,” “wealth,” “longevity,” and “springtime.” The paper squares are usually pasted upside down, because the Mandarin Chinese word for “upside down,” tao, is a homonym of the word “arrival.” Thus, the paper squares represent the “arrival” of spring and the “coming” of prosperous times.
On lunar New Year’s Eve, family members who are no longer living at home make a special effort to return home for reunion and share in a sumptuous meal. At that time, family members hand out “lucky money” in red envelopes to elders and children and stay up all night to welcome the New Year. Chinese people have long believed that staying awake all night on New Year’s Eve would help their parents to live a longer life. Thus, lights are kept on the entire night–not just to drive away Nien, as in ancient times, but also as an excuse to make the most of the family get-together. Some families even hold religious ceremonies after midnight to welcome the God of the New Year into their homes, a ritual that is often concluded with a huge barrage of firecrackers.
On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then to their neighbors. Like the Western saying “let bygones be bygones,” at Chinese New Year, grudges are very easily cast aside.
Tributes are made to ancestors by burning incense and the symbolic offering of foods. As firecrackers burst in the air, evil spirits are scared away by the sound of the explosions.
It is a 15 day celebration, beginning on the first day of the new moon, and ends on the full moon. The celebration on the 15th day is called the Lantern Festival, which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows. At the Festival, all traditions are honored. The predominant colors are red and gold. “Good Wish” banners are hung from the ceilings and walls. The “God of Fortune” is there to give Hong Baos. Lion dancers perform on stage continuously. Visitors take home plants and flowers symbolizing good luck. An array of New Years specialty food is available in the Food Market. Visitors purchase new clothing, shoes and pottery at the Market Fair.
We are located at 18849 Ventura Boulevard, between Reseda Boulevard and Tampa Avenue, in Tarzana; a San Fernando Valley suburb of Los Angeles. Our customers come from as far away as Santa Clarita to the north, Orange County to the south, Pasadena to the East and Westlake Village to the West…and everywhere in between.
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