simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Year of the Rat
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Monday, 11 February 2008

Year of the Rat

Chinese New Year is a two-week long celebration and 2008 is the Year of the Rat. In most areas of the country, Chinese New Year goes by without notice, but in NYC most natives are aware of the holiday, even if they do not participate. We have a very large Chinese American population and 5 Chinatowns, with the one in Manhattan being best known (and largest in the Western Hemisphere).
A friend and I decided to make a short pilgrimage to Chinatown and ran across a celebration in front of Pearl River Mart (click here for a previous posting on this large Chinese department store). We arrived just in time to see the traditional dragon and lion dance, accompanied by a snow shower.
Our final destination was Mott street - this is Chinatown's central artery. Major festivities had just finished - the street was still closed with street cleaners sweeping confetti.
After my reading today, I am rethinking my views towards rats. The rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and the list of attributes includes many traits not to be ashamed of: leadership, pioneering, conquerors, passionate, charismatic, practical, hardworking, organized, meticulous, intelligent, cunning, ambitious, strong-willed, energetic and versatile. So perhaps when some business owners and landlords are characterized as rats, the inference is not as negative as what I had originally thought :)


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