Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Year of the Rat

This weekend while away we happened to get a great surprise in stumbling upon the Chinese new year celebrations. It was a real treat and a lot of fun despite the rain trying to chase everyone away.

There were red envelopes and money pinned in doorways of the china town area. The streets were all closed off to vehicles so there was literally dancing in the streets. It was really fun to watch all the performances. There was tai chi, dragon dances and firecrackers at every turn. We couldn't help but purchase some "Snappers" from a tiny shop after watching all the children playing with them. You just throw them at the ground and they explode. The street was covered in them but it was so fun.

There was also lettuce hanging from all the doorways to attract the dragons. The dragons were followed by colorful flags and a steady drum beat. The dragon would approach the store doorway and eye up the lettuce. Then he would jump up and rip it off from where it was hanging. Then he would chomp it up and spit it back in the doorway. There was lettuce everywhere!

Though I don't know the significance of all the ceremonies I do know its the year of the rat. I happen to personally have a pet rat that I consider to be my little "fur baby" and so I was very excited to tell her all about how its her year. Seeing as rats have such short lives (2-3) years she is very fortunate that it's happening now as it only comes around every 12 years. My pet rat loves Chinese food too so its all very fitting.

It was a very fun day and I'm glad we stopped to check it out. We didn't spend much. I'd say I spent about $6 on 3 packs of "snappers" ( I wanted to bring some home and throw them at unsuspecting friends) and about $25 on a delicious authentic lunch. Soon the rain started to pour to the point where we were soaked so we headed home but overall it was wonderful.

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!

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