Happy New Year — The Year of the Horse
By Kimberly DeFalco
Today, I’m glad I’m not a horse! Well, in the Chinese, astrological sense, that is.
Today marks the opening ceremonies of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival of China. It is defined by the first new moon of the calendar year.
Accordingly, those born in the Year of the Horse may have diminished chances of winning the lottery this calendar year. Overall, the money thing could get a little tricky.
The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a 12-year cycle, each related to an animal sign.
The Rat, Ox or Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig define the Chinese Zodiac barnyard, which is believed to have originated from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).
Today marks the end of the year of the water snake and welcomes the start of the year of the wooden horse.
According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements — earth, water, fire, wood and metal — which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead.
Now, being a horse isn’t so bad overall.
People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit horse-like: energetic, animated, witty and they love being in a crowd. Like a foal, which can walk minutes after birth, they are quick to learn independence.
Great communicators and fiercely independent, those born under the sign of the horse have a pretty-upbeat attitude about life and possess a straightforward disposition towards just about everything.
Adverse to the concept of failure, souls of this sign embrace kindness and cutting-to-the-chase of matters.
And that’s a good thing!
The tricky, superstitious part about the upcoming year for those born under this sign is a pesky little god call Tai Sui, also known as the god of age.
The word on the street is that you pretty, little horses will offend Tai Sui, also the god of fortune, and experience bad luck for the whole year.
But wait equine signs, you have some defense! Wear something red, preferably which has been given to you by someone else.
Red is associated with luck and prosperity, but is used mainly for protective purposes.
Red underwear sales are expected to soar!
The lucky colors of the horse are purple, green and Whoo Hoo! — RED!
Your lucky horse numbers are three, four and nine and your lucky flowers are giant taro and jasmine.
Horse sign-folks — there’s your shopping list!
Just pay attention to those price-tags happy horses.
Flamboyant by nature, you are often wasteful, as you are not good with financial matters. Maybe a three-ring, red financial planner spritzed with jasmine essential oil, should be carried around, while wearing red underwear?
Locally, your best bet for participating in the festivities are at Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans (SACA) festival at Largo Central Park on Saturday.
Established in 1982, SACA is the largest Chinese American association in Tampa Bay.
Intended to provide cultural and social connections among its members, SACA prides itself on promoting and encouraging appreciation of Chinese culture and history for everyone.
Previously held at various indoor locations over the past 38 years, 2013 marked the festival’s first year at Largo Central Park.
“The park has such a family-friendly atmosphere,” former SACA president and current board director Sunny Duann said. “And why not outdoors? The park is beautiful.”
Festivities include Chinese music and dance performances, martial arts, children’s activities, food, cultural exhibits and the grand dragon and lion dance.
With nearly one-sixth of the world’s population (including Japan, Korea and Vietnam) celebrating the Lunar New Year, its participants recognize it as a time of celebration and hope.
As much of the non-Chinese ( and Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese) world marks New Year celebrations with alcohol, celebrants of the Chinese New Year prefer to hike their glycemic index and appreciation with sugar. Sugary snacks are thought to sweeten up prospects for the year ahead.
In China, the celebration turns the country into a human lava lamp as millions of Chinese migrate home to visit family and friends. But single women, you better bring a boyfriend!
Parental interrogations are a given if one is sans a significant other.
Taobao, China’s largest online retailer, offers fake boyfriend rentals, which come in different packages. Options include embraces and a goodbye kiss on the cheek. Packages range from $8 an hour for your basic meet-the-parents and bolt, to $8,000 for an over-the-top dramatization and a sigh of relief until the next Lunar Year rolls around.
Firecrackers are omnipresent as they are used to scare away monsters.
Chinese legend supports the belief that “Nian”, the half-dragon, half-lion monster, comes out of hiding and attacks people, particularly children, during the Lunar New Year.
Add to shopping cart — especially you horses: red underwear, anything red for that matter, jasmine, giant taro and lots and lots of sugar!
Suggested motherland of all things Oriental: Oceanic Oriental Supermarket of Tampa, 1609 N. Tampa Street, Tampa; (813) 228-8110. (Although two years ago, when shopping for my own Chinese New Year celebration, they directed me to Target for a dragon pinata. I had to settle for Dora the Explorer).
MD Oriental Market 1106 E. Fowler Ave. Tampa, Fl. 33612 813-868-1688.
Cho Lon Oriental Market, 5944 34th St N, Ste 17-18, St Petersburg; (727) 527-7511.
If you wanna go: Largo Central Park is located at 101 Central Park Drive in Largo. Its 70 acres of rolling grounds and fountains provide eight picnic pavilions and restroom facilities. Rainbow Rotary Playground is one of the only playgrounds in the Bay area completely accessible to disabled users. (727) 586-7415. Events are scheduled 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Opening ceremony is slated for 11 a.m. For more information, contact SACA at (727) 544-5165, www.facebook.com/SACATampabay