Chinese New Year celebrations are happening throughout California, and in Lodi a lively parade broke out at Heritage Headstart on Friday morning.
At Heritage, a diverse school located on Calaveras Street, preschool students celebrated the beginning of the "Year of the Pig."
Children made boar masks, painted colorful designs on Chinese-style hats they made, and learned to slurp up noodles, white rice, fortune cookies and apricots using chopsticks. On Friday, six parents and teachers and 16 children participated.
"Headstart is about introducing children to different cultures and their foods, customs, songs and clothing," said teacher, Victoria Carranco.
Children learned to say "kung hee fat choy," Chinese for "happy new year." On their parade route, children visited the upper grades at Heritage Primary School. They asked students, "neehow mah" meaning "how are you." The older children responded "hung how," which means "good."
According to legend, the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from Earth. As a reward he named a year after each animal who bid him farewell, in the order that they arrived. First came the rat, then the ox, the tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Chinese New Year starts with the first day of the first new moon of the year in the Chinese calendar. According to the traditional system, this is year 4705. Hebrew, Tamil, Hindu, Buddhist and Tibetan calendars are also governed by lunar-solar cycles.
Are you a boar person?
People born in the Year of the Pig are chivalrous and gallant. Whatever they do, they do with all their strength.
They have tremendous fortitude and great honesty.
They don't make many friends but they make them for life, and anyone having a Boar Year friend is fortunate for they are extremely loyal.
They don't talk much but have a great thirst for knowledge and are generally well informed.
Boar people are quick tempered, yet they hate arguments and quarreling. They are kind to their loved ones. No matter how bad problems seem to be, boar people try to work them out, honestly if sometimes impulsively.
Source: Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco.