Chinese New Year started on Friday, January 31st this year. The year of the horse is the year of success.

Children with paper-cuts with the Chinese character Ma, meaning HorseChildren hold up the Chinese character ma, meaning horse. Photograph: Imaginechina/Corbis

Some the Chinese New Year greetings include:

·    Wan Shi Ru Yi: means everything will follow your will
·    Ji Xiang Ru Yi: means harmony
·    Sui Sui Ping An: means harmony and safety year around
·    Gong Xi Fa Cai: means Congratulations and be prosperous. Mostly used in southern China. This is the only one that I heard while living in the San Francisco Bay area and in the Annapolis-Baltimore-Washington DC area.
~~~Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. It is the most important of the Chinese Holidays. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade. Lasting 15 days makes it the longest festival. It is also called the Spring Festival.
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements and it is about 29.5 days. An extra month is added every few years (approx. 7 years out of 19 years). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year. According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead. The lucky colors of the horse are green, red and purple; the lucky numbers are three, four and nine, and the lucky flowers are giant taro and jasmine. In China, the overall lucky number is 8.
Some famous people born in the year of the horse include Genghis Khan, the Mongol emperor who died in 1227; Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US; Louis Pasteur, a 19th-century scientist; Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon; Aretha Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Jackie Chan, Denzel Washington, Barbara Streisand, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Cindy Crawford, Jerry Seinfeld, and Leonard Bernstein.
~~Some of the special foods to eat to ensure a good year include ginkgo nut for silver, black moss seaweed for wealth, dried bean curd for wealth and happiness and bamboo shoots for all to be well. But please don’t eat white bean curd (tofu) as it symbolizes death and misfortune during these 15 days.
So I wish you a very Happy Chinese New Year and great success in 2014!
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