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Happy Chinese New Year! It's the Year of the Golden Rabbit.

Thursday, February 03, 2011
Taiwanese aborigine woman and infant by John Thomson, 1871
According to the Chinese zodiac, today marks the first day of Chinese New Year:  The year of the Golden Rabbit.  Wahoooo! 
I'm hopping for joy (*giggle*) because I just ordered my tickets to the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, the biggest celebration of Chinese New Year outside of Asia and one of the few remaining night-illuminated parades in the country!  I am SO excited!  San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia.  Its estimated population in the 2000 census was at 100,574 residents which accounts for two thirds of the overall ethnic Chinese population in San Francisco.  [Source]  This is going to be fun!  (Don't make me pull out my cheongsam).
According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.  According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of the Rabbit share certain characteristics:  Keen, wise, fragile, tranquil, serene, considerate, fashionable, and kind.  Famous Rabbit People: Angelina Jolie, Anjelica Huston, Drew Barrymore, Edith Piaf, Fanny Brice, Helen Hunt, Jane Seymour, Joan Crawford, Kate Winslet, Natasha Richardson, and Tina Turner.  [Source
Black Austronesians
I have never visited Asia but long to go.  I am anxious - as always - to learn more about Chinese culture and to become inspired.  I want to meet the aborigines in Taiwan and the Austronesian peoples of Oceania and Southeast Asia. I want to meet Lou Jing and learn (from her perspective) about what it's like to be a 21st century Chinese Brown Girl that presents to the world her African heritage.  I want to meet Chinese people whose family members might have migrated to Jamaica in the 19th century, for example.  I just want to learn.
It is obvious that there is much more to the Chinese than we here in the U.S. know about in spite of the influence Chinese culture has had in and on America (i.e, fashion, food, automobiles, electronics, etc.).  Perhaps there are more cultural similarities than we might have ever imagined?  I'm just hoping to get to Asia to find out.  =) 
Happy Chinese New Year!
Interesting Chinese Cultural Fact:  The tradition of digging up "dragon bones" (tortoise and cattle bones) has long been a part of Chinese culture. These bones are often used to predict the future. The bones were inscribed with questions then heated to reveal the answers. The tradition dates back as far as the Bronze Age (around 2100 BC during the Xia dynasty).  [Source]



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