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The upcoming Chinese New Year falls on February 19, 2015, when we’ll be ringing in the Year of the Sheep (also known as the Goat or Ram). It’s the most important of Chinese holidays, celebrated by billions of people across the world. Here are a few great ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year:

Chinese New Year Celebration 2015:
Presented by Chinese New Year Celebration Association and Sacramento Chinese Culture Foundation at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento on February 7th. Cultural gala celebrating the Year of the Goat featuring stage entertainment, food, arts, children’s games, martial arts, and community exhibits.

Chinese New Year Festival at The Bay Area Discovery Museum:
Celebrate Chinese New Year on Monday, February 16th with a talented ensemble of youth and adult dancers. Enjoy delicious Chinese food for sale, as well as a variety of cultural demonstrations. You won’t want to miss the spectacular lion dancers of the Dragon Horse Lion Dance Team and the Marin Chinese Cultural Association.

San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade:
Head over the bridge and experience gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions and exploding firecrackers. The newly crowned Miss Chinatown U.S.A. with her court is a crowd favorite in the spectacular 268′ Golden Dragon. The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year parade will be on Saturday, March 7th at 5:15 pm.

The Sheep is the eighth sign in the Chinese astrological cycle.  History suggests that before Buddha left this world, he invited all of the animals to join him around his table for a feast. Of all of the creatures in the land, only 12 arrived. For their loyalty and faithfulness, these animals were rewarded in perpetuity by having a year named after each of them in their order of arrival.

Each year is associated with one of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac. The animals run in sequence beginning with the Rat and followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and last, but not least, the Pig.

If you were born during the Year of the Sheep
Year of Birth: 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027.

Occupying the 8th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Goat (or Sheep) symbolizes such character traits as creativity, intelligence, dependability, and calmness. Comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of their inner minds, Goats enjoy being part of a group, but prefer the sidelines rather than the center. Their nurturing personality makes Goats excellent care-givers. They’re quiet and reserved because they spend much time absorbed in their thoughts.

Home and alone is where Goats feel most comfortable. There they can express themselves artistically, whether it’s by painting, cooking or participating in whatever artistic endeavors they enjoy. Goats prefer the couch because there they can relax and explore their minds. Sheep are compatible with Rabbits and Pigs and incompatible with the Rat and Ox. You can learn more about the Sheep and all the Chinese Zodiac signs at Chinese Zodiac.com.

Don’t forget the little ones during the festivities. Celebrate China and the Chinese Lunar New Year with these purposeful activities and games. Chinese New Year paper cutting is an indispensable part of Chinese New Year decoration. Here is a guide for how to make your own (fu) Chinese New Year paper cutting.

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