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Chinese new year and family friendly activities for the year of the horse

Chinese Chinese New Year will begin on January 31 this year. This exciting time for Chinese families and other families who want to share in this cultural event offers the opportunity for children to learn about other cultures. We live in a diverse world and giving children the opportunity to experience other cultures with food, fun symbols of the culture, and other ways that families will celebrate the holiday broadens understanding and promotes better relationships with others of a different culture. The early years are an ideal time to expose children to others from a different culture.

Honoring the horse
Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Chinese New Year is the longest celebration in the Chinese calendar. Chinese calendar months are ruled by the lunar calendar and each month begins on the darkest day. New year's day usually begins on the first day of the month and continues until about the 15th of the month when the moon is brightest. The color red is a symbol of this holiday. Red clothes and special red envelopes with money are part of the celebration. Red symbolizes fire, and legend believes that fire was important in driving away demons. Chinese legend teaches that all animalswere called to help celebrate the new year and each year is named after a special animal. The rat, bull, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig each have a special year. 2014 is the year that the horse will be honored.

Families celebrate Chinese New Year with family reunions and shared meals. The Chinese community in Sarasota will begin their celebration on January 25 with a family friendly event that will be held at the T J Johnson Youth Center at Faith Baptist Church located at 8751 Fruitville road in Sarasota. The Gulfcoast Chinese American Association and the Sarasota Chinese Academy have teamed up to sponsor the event. Traditional dancing and drumming, singing, and martial arts will all be part of the celebration. Food is a large part of family celebrations of Chinese New Year and Chinese refreshments will be served. The event will be held from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., and there is a $15 charge for adults with a $5 charge for children.

Come out and usher in the year of the horse with this fun event, and give your children an opportunity to experience a new culture with this colorful celebration. The Chinese community invites all and you don't have to be Chinese to join the celebration.

Check out the included video before the holiday begins to learn about how your Chinese friends will celebrate.

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