Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese New Year: Washington DC

February 18th, 2007 marks the first day of the Year of the Boar in the Chinese calendar. This was heralded in by a parade in downtown Washington DC's Chinatown neighborhood. Although the parade itself was rather short, you had to give the participants and spectators alike credit as it was a cold and blustery day for even your thickest skinned dragon dancer. Clad in black topcoat and fedora, the daper and newly sworn in DC Mayor Adrian Fenty kept good on his campaign promise of visiting all wards of the district and returned to Chinatown to give a rousing greeting of:"Gung hei faat choi!'- a traditional Chinese New Year's salution literally translated as "Congratulations and be prosperous." He disappeared soon thereafter, but most of the crowd stuck around to see the dragons dancing and firecracker ceremony. The firecrackers are set off to ward off evil spirits. Unlike the western dragon that symbolizes evil, in Chinese mythology dragons embody wealth and prosperity. In addition, in the days leading up to Chinese New Year, you are suppose to sweep out your house to further rid yourself of any evil that happens to be lying about. You're suppose to put away your broom and dustpan on the first of the year, on the off chance you sweep out any good luck. I should have read Wikipedia before I took out the trash and mopped up the snow and mud tracks from our front door today. More Chinese New Year Picture can be seen here.


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