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On Friday, January 31, Chinese people around the world celebrate their New Year. Also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, it is the most important traditional Chinese holiday, a time to honor deities as well as ancestors.
The occasion is marked by customs including an annual reunion dinner which takes place the evening preceding the New Year. Windows and doors are decorated with red colored ornaments. Chinese couplet poems with messages of “wealth,” “longevity,” and “good fortune” are often displayed. The giving of money in red envelopes and the lighting of firecrackers often accompany the festivities.
Associated with the Chinese Zodiac, this New Year event represents a move from the year of the snake to the year of the horse. Belief holds that the horse year bodes well for those wishing to travel, with decisive action as opposed to procrastination bringing victory. It is considered a time that favors unexpected adventure and surprising romance. The horse year is believed to be filled with good luck and fortune.
In Panama, the extensive Chinese community which is part of the wonderful mix of cultures here will be celebrating in earnest. The Chinese Association of Panama will have a free event at the El Dorado Mall lasting three days from Friday, January 31 through Sunday, February 2, from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. The mall will feature stands selling Chinese goods and promoting services and a special area for children is planned. There will also be plant vendors, food stalls and a fashion show. The event culminates with a spectacular, Chinese-style fireworks show.
The most outstanding event will be the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe performing at the Figali Convention Center on January 31 from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. The show is free of charge and will finish with a 30-minute fireworks extravaganza.