Hang the red lanterns, sound the bell, and see the dragon dance because it’s Chinese New Year. The lunisolar Chinese calendar says Jan. 28, 2017 is the start of the Chinese New Year celebration which will continue until Feb. 15, 2018. The Chinese New Year is marked by Lunar calendar, which is different from the solar calendar, normally used beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ending on the full moon fifteen days later. The Chinese Zodiac chooses an animal to represent that year and it’s element , which consists of: gold, wood, water, fire, or earth. The fire rooster will represent this past year off 2017; the fire rooster was last used to represent 1957. If one was born on the year of the fire rooster, he is believed to be trustworthy and have a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility. Some believe the zodiac sign and element are to affect one’s personality and destiny; historians believe that the holiday existed at least as early as 14th century B.C., when the Shang Dynasty was in power from Oracle bones.
Chinese Immigrants brought this holiday to the United States during the California Gold Rush from the 1840s-1850s. In fact, San Francisco hosts the largest celebration in the world outside of China. Even though China adopted the Western Calendar in 1912, they still marks the Chinese New Year in their calendars. The Year of the Dragon and Bunny are the most important years in the Chinese Zodiac; the Chinese believe that they are descended from the mythical dragon. Another fact is: the rabbit represents a Chinese goddess named Chang E who brought a rabbit with her when she jumped on the moon. The festival of this holiday includes food, music, crafts, dancing of the dragon and lion, performances of traditional dances, and much more.It is not necessary to travel to China to experience this holiday; the APCA Lunar Fest in Downtown Riverside is celebrating this holiday until the end of February.