Monthly Spirit

Chinese New Year
Year of the Earth Rat
February 7, 2008


Lion Dancers and Confetti © Aris Dervis 2008 Chinese New Year celebration San Francisco

© Aris Dervis 2008


This year we went to San Francisco to celebrate the Earth Rat.  Ever since Mayor Giuliani banned firecrackers from the New York celebration it hasn’t been as dynamic.
San Franciscans have no fear of explosives.  Their lion dancers are especially animated and passionate about exorcising the demons from the storefronts they’ve been contracted to work on.  I even saw a tradition I had never heard of.  Three heads of lettuce with red money offering envelopes attached to them were placed on the steps of a store.  When the lion dancers approached, they tore up the heads of lettuce and tossed them into the sky.  It was very satisfying to watch.
This photo says it all.  If you look to the right you will see the bar Li Po, which along with being a neighborhood dive has a terrific flower bedecked shrine to Buddha inside.

Here’s what Theodora Lau has to say about the new year, from her book The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes.


The Rat year is a year of plenty, bringing opportunity and good prospects.  It will be marked by speculation and fluctuations in the price of commodities and the stock market; the world economy in general will boom.  Business will be on the upswing, fortunes can be made and it will be an easy time to accumulate wealth.  However, this is also the time to make long-term investment plans as the bonanza the year of the Rat brings will serve to see us through the bleak years that may follow.  All ventures begun at this time will be successful if one prepares well. But do not take chances or unnecessary risks; the year of the Rat is still ruled by the cold of winter and the darkness of night.   Those who speculate indiscriminately and overextend themselves will come to a sad reckoning.
On the whole, this will be a happier year than most; free from explosive events and wars and with far less catastrophes than the Year of the Tiger or Dragon.
Nevertheless, it will be spicy.  It promises a lot of bickering, bargaining and petty arguments that will do little harm.  A congenial time that will find most of us socializing and enjoying ourselves.

Chinese New Year is available as 8x10 print, greeting card, candle and t-shirt.


Serving Spirits Monthly Spirit © Aris Dervis