Event: 2024 Adobe Bluffs Lunar New Year Exhibit at the Adobe Bluffs Elementary School in San Diego, California.
Address: 8707 Adobe Bluffs Dr, San Diego, CA 92129
Date: 2/9/2024 (Friday)
Story of Nian (年的故事)
This set explains the origin of the Chinese New Year and some of it’s traditions. A popular folklore tells of a mythical beast called Nian (which sounds the same as ‘year’ in Chinese) that shows up every New Year’s Eve to cause havoc in the village. To scare away the Nian monster, the village people displayed red paper everywhere, burned bamboo, lit candles, and wore red clothes. In addition, people also made loud noises and burn bright lights from the fireworks to scare of this Nian monster. These traditions have been continued until the present time.
Dragon and Lion Dance (舞龍舞獅)
This set features the popular dragon and the lion dances that are performed throughout the Chinese New Year.
The lion dance is a traditional Chinese dance performed in the Chinese New Year festival for good luck, as it is believed that the lion is an auspicious animal. In Chinese culture, the lion symbolizes power, wisdom, and superiority. People perform lion dances to bring good fortune for the upcoming year and chase away the old evil spirits.
The Chinese lion dance is normally operated by two dancers, one of whom manipulates the head while the other forms the rear end of the lion. Chinese lion dance fundamental movements are often linked to Chinese martial arts, and it is commonly performed to a vigorous drum beat.
Temple Fair (廟會)
This set recreates the festive traditions of a Lunar New Year at the Temple Fair. This set is centered around a traditional Chinese temple and the different fair stalls at the front of the temple. It has a food, toy, household items, and shadow theater stalls. The grounds of the fair is surrounded by plum trees with lucky Chinese phrases.
The Lunar New Year season is a busy time for temples. Worshippers typically visit the temple on the third day of the Lunar New Year to light incense and pray to deities for blessings and good luck in the year ahead. Many major temples will also put on festive dragon and lion dances in the courtyard.
Lunar New Year Parade (農曆新年遊行)
Lunar New Year parade from the year of the rabbit. Parade are popular now a days in Lunar New Year celebration. This set features three floats. The last float is deliciated to Lego with it’s dragon and minifigures from their popular Lego theme.
Lunar New Year Traditions (農曆新年的傳統)
This Lego set showcases the different traditions people do in the Lunar New Year. It has six different scenes: spring cleaning, food shopping, giving of the red envelopes, staying awake to welcome the new year, putting up decorations, and worshipping the money god.
One major tradition of the Lunar New Year is the cleaning. People often clean their house to dust off any of the bad luck of the previous year and to welcoming in the new start of the year. However, you should do the cleaning before the first day to sweep away any of the old bad lucks and not any of the new good lucks that arrived at the stroke of midnight.
Other traditions includes …
- offering sacrifices to ancestors
- eating reunion dinner with family on New Year’s Eve
- lighting firecrackers and fireworks
New Year Eve Dinner (年夜飯)
The Lunar New Year holiday is centered around food. People spend several days in preparation of the New Year Eve’s dinner, and every dish has symbolic meaning. For example, one of the dishes would most likely be a whole fish. A whole fish symbolizes wholeness and prosperity. People would also serve dumplings because they look like the gold ingot and/or noodles which represent longevity.
Reunion Dinner (團年飯)
The original Reunion Dinner Lego set from 2024.
Spring Lantern Festival (春節元宵節)
Chinese New Year can also be called the spring festival. It starts on the 15th day of the new lunar year and marks the end of the Chinese New Year period. This day is when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. People of this day at night would go out to see the many lantern that are on display or make their own lantern to carry around.
People on this day would have the 2nd family reunion meal and eat sweet rice balls called “tang yuan” to symbolize wholeness like the full moon.
Dragon Boat Festival (端午節)
The Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (varying from late May to middle June). On this festival, people hold dragon boat races with each boat having an ornate carving of the dragon’s head at the bow and a tail in the stern. The boat is painted with scales. The paddles symbolically represent the dragon’s claws, the drum represents the heart.
Also on this festival, people eat “Zhongzi” (rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves) to commemorate the life and death of the Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet who drowned in a river. According to the legend, the fishermen began throwing rice into the river as an offering to Qu Yuan, so that his spirit could be nourished in the next world.
Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節)
Also know as the Moon Festival. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. On this day, the moon is at its brightest and fullest size, coinciding with harvest time in the middle of Autumn. People eat moon cakes while glazing at the moon. Lanterns of all varieties, size, an shape are carried and displayed to symbolize that light of the people’s path to prosperity and good fortune.
The legend has it that there once was 10 suns in the sky. The suns burnt all the plants on Earth and people where dying from it. Then one day, an archer named Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of the ten suns to save the people on this Earth. Hou Yi, for his bravery, was then given a bottle of elixir that could make him immortal. He gave this bottle to his wife Chang Er for save keeping. However, one day, Chang Er had to drank this bottle of elixir to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. The elixir made her fly to the moon and before immortal.
The jade rabbit is also a widespread character related to the Mid-Autumn Festival and the moon. The Chinese believe that the jade rabbit is a companion to Chang E on the moon.
Lunar New Year Ice Festival (農曆新年冰節)
This set depicts the Lunar New Year ice festivals held by people in the colder northern regions of Asia. It centered around a frozen lake with ski shop, ice slide/sculpture, and a photo booth. Each lunar year has an animal associated with it. If you look closely, you will see that it’s for the year of the tiger.