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Issue:- 26 January  2012

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Gung Hay Fat Choy

TO all our Chinese readers "Gung Hay Fat Choy", Wishing you good fortune and happiness for the year to come. The new
Chinese year, in UK, began on 23 January 2012 and ends on 9 February 2013. We visited Liverpool's Chinatown, which happens to be the oldest Chinatown established in Europe, to see their start of the New Year celebrations, on Sunday, 22 January 2012. Many of the City's Chinese-residents and businesses, helped to organise what was an amazing festival atmosphere, with lots of activities for young and old. Sadly, due to the high winds, some of the activities could not take place, but what did occur was well worth the trip in to the City Centre to see. Ambrose Reynolds, Artistic Director for Urban Strawberry Lunch (USL), who created the special water dragon, which is around 3 metres long and made of old lanterns, fake fur, huge pipe cleaners and glitter balls, said:- "We love Chinese New Year. It’s one of those rare times when the whole city can gather together to celebrate. We’re really looking forward to people getting involved with the Urban Water Dragon parade too; it’s our chance to bring a bit of Dragon magic to Bold Street and have a bit of fun at the same time!" The group, on the Sunday, entertained the crowds with the Water Dragon, before the spectacular lion, dragon and unicorn parade took place. With around 15,000 people taking part in the festivities set against the magnificent backdrop of Europe’s biggest Chinese Arch on Nelson Street, this was a fantastic sight to see. But also the sounds of the firecracker display could be heard all over the City Centre. Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "Chinese New Year is one of the highlights of our events calendar and it’s wonderful to see part of the city centre taken over by the sights and smells of China! This year, we had Bold Street taking part in the celebrations for the first time, which meant thousands more people got to join together to wish the Chinese community a healthy and happy new year."

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Did you know???

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, a creature of myth and legend. The Dragon is the 5th sign of the Chinese Zodiac and represents an emperor and power. Of all the 12 animal signs it is the ultimate auspicious symbol, signifying success and happiness. The Dragon is not the most domesticated of the animal signs. It is seen as all powerful and totally unpredictable. In ancient China, texts from the Sung Dynasty described the Dragon as usually clutching a pearl, a symbolic sign of its super-natural powers. Invariably if seen, it is said to be accompanied by thunder and rain. It says that dragon moves like lightning and whirlwinds, and has the head of an ox, muzzle of a donkey, eyes of a shrimp and horns of a deer. Its body is described as having a serpent look, covered with fish scales and with the feet of a phoenix!  So could the high winds and rain of 2012 symbolise its arrival?  People born in the Year of the Dragon like to be very charitable and also they love to spend money. Many Dragon people will take big chances with their finances. Yet, even if they fail, it is very rare that they remain poor for long. This year’s element is Water. In Chinese Taoism, the element water is representative of intelligence and wisdom, flexibility, softness and pliancy. But sadly, an over-abundance of the element is said to cause difficulty in choosing something and sticking to it. This leads to the negative emotions associated with water, fear and anxiety, while the positive emotion is calmness. So what will this year bring for us?

Dragon years are as follows:-

19/02/1904 to 03/02/1905 – element was Wood.
03/02/1916 to 22/01/1917 – element was Fire.
23/01/1928 to 09/02/1929 – element was Earth.
08/02/1940 to 26/01/1941 – element was Metal.
27/01/1952 to 13/02/1953 – element was Water.
13/02/1964 to 01/02/1965 – element was Wood.
31/01/1976 to 02/17/1977 – element was Fire.
17/02/1988 to 05/02/1989 – element was Earth.
05/02/2000 to 23/01/2001 – element was Metal.
23/01/2012 to 09/02/2013 – element is Water.

If you missed Liverpool's celebrations, head over to Neville street, Southport on Saturday, 28 January and Saturday 4 February 2012 for a fantastic display of Kung fu and a South and North Lion Dance demonstration out side and inside the Oriental Garden Chinese Restaurant.  Call:- 01704 544 033 for more information!

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