Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

I had to go to bank at lunch today, so I went to the nearby Mills/50 District in Orlando, (formerly known as the ViMi District for Vietnamese on Mills), to observe the Chinese New Years celebration. According to Wikipedia, it is the most important traditional Chinese holiday and this year is the year of the dragon. My Chinese zodiac sign is the dragon and 12 years ago during the last year of the dragon, I successfully launched my business.

The celebration I witnessed went from business to business in the Vietnamese district, with a team of gong-bangers, drummers and martial artists. The performers made the dragon dance and the ornate cyan-colored serpent entered each business as the percussionists performed outside. A small crowd gathered for each performance, including beautiful little Asian children dressed up for this special occasion. When the dragon came out of the business it "ate" a piece of lettuce or cabbage that was hung from the store's entrance and the dancer working the front of the dragon lit a long string of firecrackers. The performers all wore ear plugs and had surgical masks because the smoke and noise from the fireworks was overwhelming.

People who only know Orlando by its theme parks would be surprised at how multicultural it actually is. I don't often get to take part in wonderful rituals such as this and I'm glad I did. Perhaps this will be another lucky year of the dragon...

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