Year of the Black Snake

February 14, 2013

Hi everyone,

This week I wanted to talk about Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year, because it’s traditionally celebrated in other East Asian countries as well).

I was in New York for Parent’s Weekend last weekend and I came across few things that showed to me that the Asian holiday is being more known and received in the States as well. Seeing New Year decorations in the Chinese restaurant I went to didn’t surprise me that much, but seeing the snake on Miami Heat warm-up and hearing the commentators mentioning how it is the year of the snake did. I picked up a Korean newspaper in Koreatown the next day and saw an article about awareness of Lunar New Year in United States and efforts to make it a public holiday.

I came back to Gould on Sunday, I was greeted with the Lunar New Year feast chef and kitchen staffs have worked to prepare (applause to them again for the wonderful job). At least for the three years I have been here, Gould has always done this for Lunar New Year; in fact, I remember that in my first year at Gould, Mrs. Whittington (who always takes of international students) let Asian students go out to dine instead of formal dinner that night. It’s one way to show Gould’s support of diverse cultures.

I want to tell the readers, most of who will not be familiar, a little bit more about the ‘year of the snake’ and attaching animals to a year. 2013 is the year of the ‘black’ snake to be specific, and 2012 was the year of the black dragon. There are 12 animals and 5 colors (it’s actually a little more complicated than colors, but let’s leave it at that for now) that rotate, giving each year a combination of a color and an animal. It’s similar to the Western zodiac which gives a sign to a person based on the period of the year, just with colors added.

If you know someone who’s having a baby this year, tell him/her that the child is a ‘black snake’, whose year will return 60 years later (12 times 5), at which you must have a bigger-than-other-years birthday celebration.

Happy year of the black snake, everyone!

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