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新年快樂! 恭喜發財!

It is the year 4,709 on the lunar calendar. 
Our Mandarin Playgroup was started over 2 years ago.
Hapa families with Hapa Kids.
Funny how they all sort of look like cousins.
Maybe soon, there might be a Hapa box for them to check on forms.
It's a unique social circle for the kids to share our special brand of multicultural Asian heritage.

This year, the Hare brought the New Year on Feb 4th.  Our 2nd Annual Turtle Potluck is finally catching up to the hopping year...a week later.

The lunar celebration is technically 2 weeks long.
But eating Dumplings is a month-long CHOW-FEST.  
So we are stuffing our faces, proudly.
 Nothing says CHINESE like the word:  Auspicious.aus.pi.cious  [aw-spish-uhs]   Why Red?  It's Auspicious.
Why Firecrackers?  It's Auspicious.
Why Dragons?  It's Auspicious.
Why is that Auspicious?  Doesn't matter...IT JUST IS.
Anything that promises success, prosperity, opportunity, and favored by fortune, it's a Big-Chinese-Thumbs-UP!  Not sure why eating a particular combination of typical Chinese food would do it.... 
but less asking, more eating!
Rice (米飯; mǐfàn) - Fertility, luck, wealth, link between Heaven (Gods) and Earth (Men) Noodles (麵條; miàntiáo) Uncut - Long life Garden Tofu (什锦蔬菜; shíjǐn shūcài) - Family harmony *To include:  Muer Black fungus(木耳; mù ěr) - Longevity  Three Winter Plate *To Include:  1. Snowpeas (荷蘭豆; hélándòu) - Unity  2. Bamboo shoots (竹笋尖; zhú sǔn jiān) - New start  3.  Shitake (冬菇; dōnggū) - longevity, sizing opportunities Fish (whole) - (魚/餘 yú) - Surplus of prosperity Fish ball (魚蛋; yúdàn) - Reunion (Round) Prawn (大蝦; dàxiā) - Liveliness Chicken (whole) (雞肉; jīròu) - Completeness & joy Dumplings (jiǎozi, 子/角子) - Wealth *To Include: Chinese garlic chives (韭菜, jiǔcài) - everlasting, eternity, long life Turnip Cake (蘿蔔糕; luóbo gāo) - Good omen Sweet Sticking Cake (年糕; nián'gāo) 年高 /年年高升) - Advance to higher positions & prosperity. Red Bean Soup (紅豆湯) - Sweet union  Gluten Balls (湯圓 ,tāngyuán) Sweet dumplings - togetherness, reunion Custard Egg(蛋, dàn) - fertility  Fruit Platter: Tangerine (橘; jú) - luck, Grapes (葡萄, pútaó) - fertility, Pineapple (凤梨; fènglí) - wealth, Peach (桃; táo) - immortality, Pomelo (柚子; yòuzi) - abundance, Apples (苹果; píngguǒ) - wisdom, peace.  Boy, I'm stuffed just typing this.

Chinese New Year Focus :
1)  FOOD:  Loaded with symbolism
2)  Family gatherings & paying respect to ancestors.
3)  Up keeping traditions based on the moon & sun's cycles.

To kick off the feast, kids enjoyed hand rolling their own rice balls for dessert.  

Then, the party continued with some Bunny hats I made for all the little hares at Circletime!  After some songs and New Year cheers, it was time for a special visitor...

 Our very own.... Dralion.
(Nope, not the Cirque Show...something EVEN better.)

It's mostly a Lion Dance, but Zo insists that he is a DRAGON.  Plus it's usually 2 people to a Lion, but just go with us.

Here we are with OUR version:
1)  A Red Robe (used our Xmas robe)
2)  A Paper Mask (ma & pa made)
3)  A Small Basket
4)  A Red Packet (with $1 Inside)
5)  A Piece of Green (Fake toy lettuce)
6)  A "Mandarin Orange"
(Small stuffed basketball)

reused some old birthday wrapping paper and extra card stock.

A brief story on our dance...
A Hungry Dragon approaches.
We offer a basket of treats to bring in the New Year.
Once he spots the treats, he is happy, VERY happy...and starts to do some criss-cross fancy footwork to show his pleasure.

Then he circles the basket and gobbles up the Orange first (Oranges = Wealth & Luck...or Auspicious.)  Then he sees the "Choy" and is again excited...this time, he may do some rolls and tumbles.
Gulp, he nabs the greens, "chews" it, then spits it back out!
This is a symbolic blessing that there will be an abundance of everything in the coming year.  The red money packet is the Dragons prize.
All this with loud drumming, chimes, and firecrackers to scare off evil spirits.

Our Firecrackers?  Giant bubble wrap!!.
A few good twists and some hardy stomps...can't tell the difference!

The Dralion is HERE...with Firecrackers (Video Clip)

An Encore Performance at his Berkeley Mini-Preschool:
You'll see the "Fancy Footwork" at 1:00 mark on this second clip!

Both routines were self choreographed by Zo, I just drummed accordingly.
Based VERY loosely on the 2 performances he saw in real-life on stage at some Chinese celebrations!
My Prize.  
Already an Auspicious year.


  1. I love this Dralion! I also love the education on symbolism of various foods and AUSPICIOUS! Great Dralion dancing! Enzo could make a great Capoeirista. He's got the moves!

    Love to Enzo, Julie, and Marc! I feel loved by the way you love Enzo and are nurturing him!!


  2. Can we celebrate with you next year? This looks like so much fun!

    The number 8, also auspicious?

  3. Yes! The MOST auspicious of all is number 8! In Mandarin pronounced "BA", is similar to "FA" or "Prosperity"...literally "exploding with riches." A close second in auspiciousness is 9 & 6. 9 = Longevity & 6 = Smooth sailing, these numbers are seen alot in Chinese Weddings.