Xian Nian Kuai Le— Happy New Year!!

Last weekend marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the year of the snake, so I decided to check out the Atlanta Chinese Lunar New Year Festival at China Town/ Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Atlanta.  I know a lot of you may not know what a large celebration the new year can be in Atlanta, after-all we are no New York or San Francisco, but Zukie, ever the cultural explorer, is here to let you know Chinese New Year in Atlanta is  “the business” as they say.

 First, a little bit about the New Year:

Chinese New Year is probably the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and is celebrated all over the world where there is a Chinese diaspora— according to my family it was huge in Jamaica back in the day, go figure.  Legend has it, it started with a fight against a beast called the Nian 年 who would show up on the first day of the New Year to eat livestock, crops, and children—que horror!  To protect themselves villagers would put food in front of their door to satiate the beast (lambs blood and all that).  It was later discovered the Nian was afraid of the color red, so people began hanging red lanterns and scrolls on their windows and doors.  They also used firecrackers to scare away the Nian.  All of that symbolism is present at the New Year festival today.

Forward to present day—-Usually the night before New Year’s Day Chinese families get together for their annual reunion dinner.  The house is cleaned from top to bottom to “sweep away” the bad and clear the way for good luck.  Couples and the elderly give money  in red paper envelopes (even number amounts only—odd is for funerals) to the young and the single and the windows and doors are decorated with red cutouts bearing the themes of happiness, wealth, longevity, and good fortune. 

What about the Snake?


 People born in the Year of the Snake are said to be beautiful, seductive, generous, intelligent, and good with money if a little jealous and slightly dangerous.  The word goes, if you find a snake in your house your family will never starve, or is it if you are a snake your family will never starve?  In any event the year is one marked by fluctuations so be mindful and be careful if you believe in that sort of thing.  They say May-Aug is a good time for education, love, and other investments.

The Event

So the event was beyond packed and extremely culturally diverse. It was my first time visiting Atlanta’s China Town Mall which alone was worth the visit.  There were firecrackers, dragon dances, performances, and lots and lots of food.  Not more to say but that I will be back, both for the New Year and just to visit the Mall.  Scroll through the pictures above and then head out on your own, you cultural explorer you!

-Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost-

Until Such Time ~ Zukie~

blog comments powered by Disqus