On January 28th, we will celebrate the Year of the Rooster at the Free Library! We invite you to explore storytimes, cultural programs, and arts & crafts activities throughout Philadelphia.
Chinese New Year is a fifteen-day celebration which starts on the new moon. On Chinese New Year, people participate in traditional activities such as: sweeping out the old year and welcoming the new, rejoicing and reuniting with family, cooking special foods, honoring ancestors, distributing and receiving red envelopes for good fortune, participating in the special dragon/lion dance, and making loud noises with firecrackers. Schools and businesses are closed for an extended holiday break so people can visit families and relatives far away.
Chuan Lian, strips of red papers, are hung on doors and windows to keep out bad spirits and bring in good luck. Chinese character "Fu" is hung upside down to mean "happiness has arrived." People wear red to scare away the evil. Everyone gets new clothes and haircuts. A special menu is prepared with dumplings, fish, noodles, oranges, and turnip cake. These foods represent prosperity, abundance, long life, great wealth, and rising fortune.
One popular Chinese legend is of the wild beast named "Nian." Nian would attack villages, searching for food. To keep the beast away from their homes, people painted the doors of their houses red. They built fires and set off firecrackers until the beast ran away.
There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The Chinese believe you share some traits with the animal that rules the year in which you were born. At the Free Library, you can borrow books and videos that will explore the hidden gems of Chinese culture and the Chinese New Year.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Free Library to explore the Chinese New Year and learn more about Chinese culture. See you soon, and Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Happy New Year in Mandarin).