Happy New Year!

Chúc mừng năm mới (Vietnamese for Happy New Year!)
Friday, January 31 begins the Year of the Horse in the Chinese lunar calendar. In Chinese legend 12 animals came when Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on the Chinese New Year. Buddha, therefore, named each of the 12 years after these animals:  Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Collectively, they are known as the Animal Zodiacs and each year is said to have some of the animal’s personality. 
People born in the Year of the Horse (most of 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014) are described as cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented, and good with their hands. One of their weaknesses is they cannot stand too much constraint. Does that describe you? Me, I was born in the Year of the Dragon, but this sounds like a pretty good characterization, too!
Many Asian countries follow a similar lunar calendar with a New Year’s celebration, including Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia and Tibet. In Vietnam and China it is the most important holiday of the year and they share similar customs. Red and yellow are considered lucky colors; therefore, people wear them during the celebrations to fend off bad luck. A traditional Chinese belief is that fireworks will drive off evil spirits. For the Vietnamese, Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnamese New Year) is an occasion to express their respect and remembrance for their ancestors and to begin the year with a clean house. Both the Chinese and Vietnamese give lucky money to children in red envelopes.
This year, since it is the Year of the Horse, our High Riders 4-H club finds it fitting to celebrate since we are a horse club. We will be having a Year of the Horse feast at our local 4H Camp with each family bringing an Asian dish traditionally made at home followed by watching Vaquero Films “The Gathering” and a sleep over. We hope this great start to our year will be auspicious for an excellent Year of the Horse!
Happy New Year of the Horse, from my horse Maggie and me!
Leanna High

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