At Wheaton restaurant, Chinese welcome Year of the Horse -- Gazette.Net


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To Chinese people around the world, it’s now the Year of the Horse, and a Wheaton restaurant welcomed the new year this weekend with traditional celebrations, including dances and, of course, food.

The horse symbolizes dynamics, efficiency and success, said Janet Yu, owner of Hollywood East Cafe.

The restaurant offered a special menu with 19 traditional Chinese meals, plus Lion Dances to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which started Friday, she said.

Her whole family has participated in the Lion Dance celebrations, she said. The dances “give good luck to the business ... [and] scare all the bad away.”

The 15-minute dances are passed on from generation to generation. “My son dances ... and my husband used to do it,” Yu said.

The horse is part of a 12-year cycle of animals that make the Chinese zodiac. The animals also interact with the five elements: wood, metal, fire, water, and earth, she said.

2014 is the year of the wood horse.

The restaurant was fully booked this weekend, Yu said.

The menu included steamed rockfish, crispy fried flounder, steamed chicken with ginger and scallion, and lobster with black bean sauce. Each dish has a special meaning. The fish symbolizes abundance and is served whole to ensure good luck from the beginning to the end of the meal, avoiding bad luck throughout the year. The chicken symbolizes good marriage and family union, while the lobster represents wealth and good fortune, according to the menu.

The Lion Dance was performed by the Chinese Youth Club. Yu used to be a member herself, and now her son carries on the family tradition.