Showing posts from February, 2024

It's the Chinese Lantern Festival!

Today, Feb. 24, is the Chinese Lantern Festival. The holiday occurs on the 15 th day of the Lunar New Year. It marks the first full moon after the start of the New Year, and also signals the end of New Year celebrations. The festival traditionally was observed by people hanging red paper lanterns on their houses. Riddles were written on the lanterns. You were rewarded with a lantern or a small gift if you solved one of the riddles. In the old days, the holiday also was a chance for young ladies—who rarely were allowed out of the home—to light a lantern and walk outside, hopefully to meet a beau. The Lantern Festival should not be confused with the Mid-Autumn Lantern or Mooncake Festival, which celebrates the harvest and falls on Sept. 17 this year. The Lantern Festival now is celebrated in different ways by Chinese communities around the world. Some locations in the U.S., including Washington, D.C., hold lantern displays. There are many legends associated with the origin of the f

Here Be Dragons ...

So … I’ve been posting a lot about dragons because it’s the Lunar Year of the Dragon. Some of you may be wondering: if dragons are so significant to Chinese culture, where the heck are the dragons in my Geomancer’s Apprentice series? I mean, dragons adorn every Chinese temple and most anything cool in China, including bags of rice, right? Okay, I confess there is no Mushu (the Eddie Murphy dragon in Mulan ) or Game of Throne s -type dragons in my books. Instead, my main character Junie Soong IS the dragon. No, she’s not a shape-shifter. Hear me out on this ... Remember that in the East, dragons are seen as benevolent divine beings. In the Geomancer books, Junie has the ability to harness qi, the earth’s vital energy. Her predecessors called themselves Dragon warriors because they saw themselves as forces for good, like the dragons of the East. In addition, dragon lines (ley lines or pathways of energy in feng shui terms) play a key role in the books, especially when they int

It's the Lunar Year of the Dragon

Today, Feb. 10, is the first day of the Lunar New Year, kicking off the Year of the Wood Dragon! To celebrate, I thought I'd explain what Chinese dragons are, and the differences between Chinese and Western dragons. In Chinese mythology, dragons are divine beings that are both wise and benevolent. They also signify power, authority, luck and good fortune. They represent leaders and warriors. In the olden days, dragons were thought to control bodies of water, floods, typhoons and rain. The Chinese emperors were believed to be the descendants of dragons. The dragon is the only mythological creature in the Chinese zodiac. It is also the most popular of the 12 zodiac animals. People born in Dragon years have strong leadership qualities. Differences between Chinese and Western dragons: Chinese dragons don’t have wings, although the male dragons fly. don’t breathe fire. don’t hoard treasure. Instead, they control bodies of water, floods, typhoons and rain. don’t have a bad rep. Chinese d