Goodbye Tiger, Hello Rabbit

Chinese new year 2023 rabbit

Sunday will be the official Lunar New Year. Are you ready to start the year again? While the day is commonly called Chinese New Year, the event is actually celebrated by many Asian countries, including South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore. The customs vary from nation to nation. For those who follow the Zodiac, we bid farewell to the Tiger, and welcome the Year of the Rabbit. As anyone who’s examined the iconic placemats used in Chinese restaurants can tell you, there are twelve rotating zodiac creatures associated with the years. 

In Cantonese, the common way to say ‘Happy Lunar New Year’ is Gong hei fat choy, meaning: ‘Wishing you happiness and prosperity.’ To help usher in some of that prosperity, families will gather and often gift “lucky money” in red envelopes. Typically this would be crisp, new bills.

It’s believed that whatever you do during the course of the Lunar New Year celebration will set the tone for the year ahead. Avoid cursing, swearing, or arguing with anyone during the celebration of the holiday; That could condemn you to a year of arguments and troubling relationships. A home will typically have wine on the table. It’s believed that the alcohol can protect from bad luck as well.

We are lucky to live in an area with such a great celebration of the lunar year. The Chinese New Year Celebration in San Francisco is one of the largest in the world. The main draw of this celebration is the Grand Parade. The tradition first began in the mid-1800s, when many immigrants from China came to the US looking for work. As the word of the Gold Rush in California spread, many Chinese immigrants decided to stay in San Francisco. This built up a large Chinese community in this city, forming the famous Chinatown district that is still one of the largest in the world. The first full scale New Year’s celebration incorporated both Chinese and American traditions. They loved the idea of having a large, colorful parade, though that was not done in China at that time. Today, this parade is one of the largest in the world. More than three million people enjoy the parade every year. There are more than 100 parade entries, with participants marching down the street with flags, lanterns, and drums. The parade also includes the 28-foot-long Golden Dragon which takes a team of more than 100 people to operate and move it through the streets of San Francisco.

The 2023 Chinese New Year Parade is on Saturday, February 4. It starts at 5:15 pm at the corner of 2nd and Market Streets. It then weaves its way through Chinatown and ends at Jackson and Kearny Streets. The parade usually ends around 8 pm. Many thanks to Jill Loeffler for this information.

For more interesting information about how to Lunar New Year customs, please see this excellent article from Women’s Day magazine.

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This post was written by Rumana Jabeen

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