Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland celebrated the beginning of the Chinese New Year yesterday in glorious style with the commencement of a two-week long festival, open through March 5th. Guests of all ages were in attendance throughout the day for music, cultural events, traditional dances and more. It was a true celebration welcoming the Year of the Ram.
The day began with the “Rolling of the Wealth” event, during which children of all ages rolled oranges and coins, blessing the New Year with health and abundance. The community was then invited to visit “The Wishing Tree”, an ancient Chinese tradition during which people write their wishes on a piece of red ribbon or paper and tie it to an orange or a coin and toss it over the branch of a sacred tree. Every guest in attendance was given an ornate and beautifully-crafted red envelope, called an ‘hongbao’ to keep or to fill and pass along. Traditional music was played throughout the day in various parts of the garden and there were calligraphy demonstrations as well as opportunities for guests to create their own, “Happy New Year,” cards and more.
The Lion Dance was not to be missed. Performed by Lee’s Association Dragon and Lion Dance Team, it will be performed each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday while the festival continues. The story is old and the dancers are artful in their storytelling. The same troupe performs in the evenings, telling the story of the Dragon with the help of the Portland Dance Troupe, during the Lantern Viewing Evenings. Tickets for the evenings are quickly selling out so contact the Gardens to have the magical opportunity to see more than 400 lanterns lit above and around you with countless more floating in the beautiful water.
As it is the Year of the Ram, the Lan Su Chinese Garden has also arranged to have live animals for the children to pet and feed during the weekends. Many more interactive and traditional exhibits will be celebrated during the next two weeks, including martial arts performances, Feng Shui discussions, and horticulture talks, for which the Gardens are most well-known. With a full staff and a volunteer base of more than 120 people, the Lan Su Chinese Garden are a most wonderful place to visit any time of the year and always – always – take your camera! Even in the evenings.
Also, in April of 2015, Lan Su Chinese Garden will be open for free to anyone who participates in the Reciprocal Admissions Program. Each month, the Portland Zoo or one of the local Museums or Gardens is open for free to everyone who holds a membership to participating organizations. What a great way to get the most out of your memberships!
Have fun and Happy Chinese New Year!