This past Monday marked the Chinese New Year, also called the spring festival, and one of the most important holidays in much of Asia, bringing together families.
In many countries from China to Malaysia—and even Chinatowns around the world—the streets came alive with firecrackers and lion dancers. On the eve of the Lunar New Year, families gathered together to enjoy a meal full of foods considered lucky. Children also received red envelops filled with money.
Those celebrating the new year are recognizing the Year of Dragon, according to the zodiac calendar, the mightiest and most favored of the 12 zodiac signs.
Locally, longtime Smyrna residents and daughter-mother duo, Natalie Keng and Margaret Keng of Chinese Southern Belle, will be hosting the Chinese New Year Cultural Dinner tonight at 7.
Tickets are $40 per person and include a personally-selected menu of dim sum “tapas” plates and Chinese regional specialties; explanations of how specific foods are “lucky” and how they relate to Asian culture and the Lunar New Year (plus cooking secrets and tips); an introduction to cultural and culinary Chinese New Year traditions - old, new and fusion; and a primer to eating out in Asian restaurants and ordering authentic Chinese menu items (or negotiating special dietary needs).
Plus, calligraphy from Margaret Keng with name translations and personalized art that you can take home as a memento from the evening. The event is taking place at the Canton House Chinese Restaurant, 4825 Buford Highway in Chamblee. See here for more information or call 1-800-838-3006.
The last Year of the Dragon was in 2000, and Hong Kong saw more than 5 percent rise in the number of births, according to BBC. Other Years of the Dragon include: 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976 and 1988. Famed dragon babies include: Salvador Dali, Courtney Love, Reese Witherspoon and Sandra Bullock.
Who knows what famous faces might show up at Moore’s Chinese Martial Arts, which celebrates its first year of business with a free “Year of the Dragon” celebration on Saturday afternoon.
Located at 1810 Spring Road in Smyrna, Moore’s opened last year as the first Shou Shu school in the state of Georgia. It emphasizes respect and confidence and on Saturday will have plenty of family fun with a jumpy house, face painter, pizza and goody bag (both while supplies last) and Kung Fu session.
“This is the Year of the Dragon, and with it come big opportunities,’’ said owner and instructor Noel Plaugher. “Moore's is excited to have many new seminars, classes and birthday party options for 2012. Along with our regular classes we offer for adults and children, we now have seminars open to the public such as women's self defense, meditation, achievement workshop, Kubaton self defense and much more.”
Saturday’s itinerary is as follows:
· Kids Activity, Noon to 1:15 p.m.
· Alternative Health Workshop, 1:30-2 p.m.
· Kids Activity 2:15 to 3:00 p.m.
· Acupuncturist Lecture/Energy Exercises, 3:15-3:45 p.m.
· Intro to Tai Chi/Chi Gung, 4-4:20 p.m.
· Adult intro to Shou Shu, 4:30-5
Come try DaVinci's Pizzeria's special Dragon Pizza and delicious REV coffee and tea from Chick-fil-A. There will also be prize drawings and discounts on enrollment. While a RSVP is not required, Moore’s is requesting such at its website so the staff will know how much pizza to get and goody bags to fill. Call 678-602-2908 for more information.
And just in case you didn't know, the dragon is a symbol of power and strength, and those born under this sign are often predicted to have lucky and abundant lives. Their characteristics are said to be strong, intelligent and self-assured.
The Lunar New Year celebration begins on the first day of the lunar calendar and is expected to end on the first day of the full moon (Feb. 15).
So, are you celebrating the Chinese New Year? What Chinese zodiac sign were you born under?