On Saturday February 10, 2024 we invite you to come celebrate Lunar New Year with us! Our afternoon will be filled with Wood Dragon spirit and we’ll usher in this vibrant and powerful energy with tea ceremony, incense burning, animal zodiac readings, moon cakes, lunar mocktails, and some special surprises!
WHAT IS LUNAR NEW YEAR?
As the world bids farewell to the old and welcomes the new, millions of people around the globe are gearing up to celebrate the Lunar New Year, a festival steeped in rich traditions and cultural significance. This year, the zodiac cycle brings us into the embrace of the majestic Wood Dragon, promising a year filled with vitality, growth, and transformation.
The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and is celebrated by many communities worldwide. Families gather to honor their ancestors, share festive meals, and participate in colorful parades and performances. The festival signifies a time of renewal, symbolizing the end of winter and the arrival of spring, bringing with it hope and prosperity.
WHO IS THE WOOD DRAGON?
The Year of the Wood Dragon holds special significance, as each element in the Chinese zodiac is associated with unique qualities. The dragon, a symbol of strength, courage, and good fortune, is further infused with the characteristics of the wood element, which is linked to growth, flexibility, and resilience. This combination suggests a year that encourages adaptability and the nurturing of new ideas and opportunities.
The Wood Dragon's influence is believed to bring positive energy and innovation to various aspects of life. It signifies a period of growth and expansion, both personally and collectively. People are encouraged to embrace change, take risks, and pursue their passions with determination. The wood element adds a layer of stability to the dragon's dynamic energy, creating a balanced environment for progress and success.
In Chinese culture, the dragon is often associated with the emperor and is considered a symbol of authority and power. As the Wood Dragon takes the center stage in 2024, it invites us to reflect on leadership qualities within ourselves. It encourages us to harness our inner strength and wisdom, leading with integrity and kindness, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.
HOW IS LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATED?
The festivities surrounding the Lunar New Year provide an opportunity for individuals to reconnect with their roots, express gratitude, and set intentions for the coming year. It's a time to strengthen family bonds, reconcile differences, and embark on a journey of self-improvement. The dragon's auspicious presence, combined with the nurturing qualities of wood, sets the stage for a year of personal and collective growth.
Whether you observe the Lunar New Year as a cultural tradition or simply appreciate the symbolism and energy it brings, the Year of the Wood Dragon invites us all to embrace change, foster resilience, and embark on a journey of transformation. As the dragon soars and the wood thrives, may this new lunar cycle bring prosperity, joy, and fulfillment to all who welcome its vibrant spirit.
This year, we’re welcoming the abundant energy of the Wood Dragon to our Salt Lake City community with some very special observances. Let’s explore…
GONGFU TEA CEREMONY
The Gongfu Tea Ceremony, rooted in Chinese tradition, is an artful and deliberate approach to preparing and enjoying tea. Gongfu, which translates to "making tea with skill," is a practice that elevates the simple act of brewing tea into a mindful and ceremonial experience. This centuries-old ritual places emphasis on precision, patience, and mindfulness, transforming tea preparation into a choreographed performance.
Central to the Gongfu Tea Ceremony is the use of special tea bowls and serving vessels- each chosen to complement the specific type of tea being served. The ceremony involves multiple infusions of the same tea leaves, allowing for a nuanced exploration of the flavors and aromas. With a focus on temperature, timing, and technique, the tea host carefully pours hot water over the tea leaves, initiating a series of short infusions. This meticulous process not only extracts the full spectrum of flavors from the leaves but also encourages a meditative state for both the tea maker and those participating in the ceremony. The Gongfu Tea Ceremony is not merely about consuming tea; it is a celebration of patience, craftsmanship, and the sensory pleasures derived from this ancient and revered beverage.
Our tea ceremony will be hosted by local tea ceremonialist Farrah Holt of the Utah Tea Guild who will be serving in a community ‘leaves in a bowl’ style adaptation with a gorgeous oolong from Taiwan called ‘GABA’ - a low-caffeine, calming, and gathering tea varietal harvested by hand just once per year.
Mooncakes hold a profound cultural and symbolic significance, particularly in East Asian traditions, where they are closely associated with lunar festivals. These round, pastry-like delicacies are imbued with rich symbolism, representing unity, completeness, and family reunion.
The circular shape of mooncakes is thought to symbolize the full moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival, a time when families gather to celebrate the harvest and appreciate the beauty of the moon.
Traditionally mooncakes are made with a variety of sweet fillings such as lotus seed paste, red bean paste, or salted egg yolk- ours will be handcrafted by local Vietnamese kitchen TAMARIND in a vegan and gluten-free style. Tamarind is located at 120 south Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City and is famous for their Banh Mi, Pho, and Rice Bowls.
The act of sharing and gifting mooncakes during festivities carries deep cultural meaning, signifying the importance of togetherness, gratitude, and the continuation of familial ties. Mooncakes, with their intricate designs and diverse fillings, serve not only as a delectable treat but also as a symbolic bridge that connects generations, cultures, and the enduring spirit of shared celebrations.
WHAT IS THE CHINESE ZODIAC?
Our own Dr. Rachel SIlverstone will be sharing about the meaning of Wood Dragon- and talking about how this energy will influence the year ahead for other animal signs on the Chinese zodiac.
The Chinese Zodiac, also known as Shengxiao, is a system of astrology that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a 12-year cycle. The cycle is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, with each year associated with one of the twelve animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Legend has it that these animals were selected by the Jade Emperor in a great race, with their order determined by their arrival. Each animal is believed to influence the personality traits and destiny of individuals born in its respective year. The Chinese Zodiac not only provides a method of timekeeping but also forms an integral part of Chinese culture, influencing aspects of daily life, celebrations, and compatibility assessments for relationships. The twelve-year cycle is further divided into five elements—Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water—creating a 60-year cycle that adds another layer of complexity to this ancient astrological system. People often consult their zodiac signs for insights into their character, compatibility with others, and to guide decisions in various aspects of life.
If you’re new to this approach to astrology, or only know the basics of your sign, Rachel will give you some really interesting points to consider as wood dragon energy moves through us all this year!