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On Friday, February 8th, Chinois hosted a Chinese New Year celebration kicking off the year of the pig with traditions, delicious food and dragon dancing! Friends and families came together to witness an incredible tradition at one of our favorite go-to spots for Asian cuisine.
Arriving to Chinois, the patio was full of decorations and guests excited to welcome the new year! With a mix of sweet and sour chicken, fish, dumplings, sushi rolls, chofan, spring rolls, and lettuce wraps, there was a huge feast to indulge in under the lanterns on the patio. The sound of drums broke through the night over the course of dinner, signalling the magical “dance of the dragons”. A long yellow and red dragon danced and swayed through the sidewalk, entering the restaurant to the applause of the crowd.
Two smaller elaborately dressed lions followed bounding their way around the restaurant, performing the traditional custom of “cai qing“, which means “plucking the greens”. The lions danced and approached some lettuce hanging from the ceiling tied with a red ribbon and money throughout its length. The lion would bat at the lettuce like a curious cat to then “eat the green” and “spit” it out but kept the money, a symbol for luck, new beginnings, and fortune.
After the lively dance, Chinois owners, Susana Joa and Ricardo Bello, gave a blessing, presented the dragons with gifts, lit incense and handed out pesos in beautiful red envelopes to each and every guest in attendance. Giving out money is a tradition that is believed to bring luck, health, and safety for the remainder of the year. As the dragon’s left, firecrackers lit up the street, spooking away ghosts and any evil spirits.
It was a wonderful night and we hope this New Year brings prosperity to you all! Happy Chinese New Year!
*The following photographs were taken by Mairobi Herrera during the Chinese New Year Celebration at Chinois February 8th: