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Friday, January 22, 2010

!Gung Hay Fat Choy!

New Year is a really big holiday in San Francisco because there is a big Chinese population in the city. The parade runs from Market St., up Geary St., to Kearny St. (for map click on tiny URL at bottom). There is lots to see at the parade like the dragon and many others.

Chinese New Year starts on the first full moon of the new year and ends fifteen days later. It has been a holiday for over 5,000 years. The last day is called "Lantern Day" because children carry lanterns in the parade. The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. A lunar cycle is about 29.5 days.

The first day of the new year is known as "The welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth." Many people fast because they think it will ensure long and happy lives. On the second day, people pray to their ancestors and treat dogs very good because it is believed that that was the birthday of all dogs. The third and fourth day is for the son-in-laws to pray to their parents-in-law. The fifth day is known as "Po woo," people stay home and welcome the God of Wealth. From the sixth to the tenth day, people visit their relatives and pray in temples. On the seventh day farmers show off their produce and people celebrate the birthday of human-beings. On the eighth day the Fijian people have a reunion, and pray at midnight. On the ninth night people make offerings to the jade emperor. On the tenth to the twelfth nights, People invite relatives and eat a lot, for the thirteenth night they eat very little. The fourteenth night is spent preparing for the Lantern Festival.

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