Greetings Boomers, and Happy Chinese New Year, known throughout the world as the Lunar New Year, also the Year of the Rat and the Spring Festival.

Here at BoomerGal, my BoomerGuy and I love to take the time and celebrate life, an event, a moment and any special holiday.  Life is too short so why not take the time to make the new day special by celebrating another New Year.

Especially fitting for celebration is the Chinese New Year, where the main zodiac element is metal, and the animal sign is the rat, hence, 2020 will be known as the year of the metal rat.

The Year of the Rat only happens every 12 years.  The rat is the first of the zodiac animals, marking the beginning of a new 12-year cycle.  As for the numbering, it has to do with the Chinese zodiac which aligns as closely as possible with Jupiter’s orbital period around the sun which is 11.86 years.  Along with the sun and moon, Jupiter played a vital role in the formation of ancient Chinese methods of both telling and classifying time.  

According to myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which the animals arrived at the party.  The rat tricked the ox into giving him a ride, then just as they arrived at the finish line, the rat jumped down and landed ahead of the ox., thereby becoming the first.  

The rat is also associated with the Earthly Branch and the midnight hours.  In terms of yin and yang, yin is the earth and yang is the sun, and the rat is  represents the beginning of a new day.  In Chinese culture, rats were seen as signs of wealth and surplus, because of their high reproductive rate.  Married couples would pray to them for good fortune.  Rats were clever, quick thinkers, successful, but content with living quiet and peaceful lives.  

Now we get to fun part—what to eat during the Chinese New Year.  How about some Chinese foodies.  Here in the United States, we have a spectacular high end restaurant P.F. Changs.  Absolutely one of my favorites. And here in southern California, not only are there a plethora of fine Chinese restaurants, but also great take out in the form of Pick Up Stix and Panda Express.  Traditions in Chinese dining during this time are spring rolls, dumplings or pot stickers, noodles, steamed fish, steamed chicken, nian gao (steamed rice cakes), vegetable dishes and a hot pot (which can be a variety of hot soups) which my BoomerGuy loves to make.

In Los Angeles, we have a wonderful Chinatown, a festive destination for dining and shopping.  Pagoda style buildings with red lanterns house traditional Chinese restaurants, dim sum houses and bakeries, plus specialty grocery stores, small art galleries and gift shops.  We particularly like the Asian-fusion eateries like Howlin’ Rays, the Golden Dragon and Phillipe The Original, which is a bit more like a traditional deli.  

The idea here is to go and experience the wonders of our local Chinatown, whether it be at the Luna New Year or anytime during 2020.  

The Chinese New Year begins on January 25th and ends on February 8th with the Lantern Festival.  Here at BoomerGal, we encourage you to explore and get inspired by celebrating the culture of the Chinese New Year that we’re certain will bring you health, happiness and prosperity.   Be sure to include a special someone with whom to celebrate.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,

People will forget what you did,

But people will never forget how you made them feel”

Maya Angelou

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