Before long we could hear drums beating in the distance. The dragon started his dance outside the restaurant and we could hear the music long before we saw him.
Grace and Dawson kept looking over the wall, watching the dragon as he made his way back to our table.
When the dragon came in, he danced for a long time, visiting every table, stopping for photos, and even going into the kitchen to bless the food and the workers there.
We fed the dragon money in red envelopes - a tradition to ward off evil spirits (and to give the dancers some tips!)
The cash in the envelopes is supposed to be in even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with money given at funerals. Our waiter told us to stay away from the number 4 since in Asain cultures that number means death. (I remembered that from living in Japan.) Most commonly, new year's red envelopes in the US contain $8 because the number 8 is related to wealth. Just for the record, though, our envelopes didn't contain $8! Grace was really funny when she "fed" the dragon. She was a little afraid so instead of putting her hand in his mouth to give him the envelope, she tossed hers from a safe distance away!
In return, the dragon threw candy, fortunes, and some fruit back to the crowd. With Kellie's help Grace caught an orange! Now, that is lucky!
According to the Chinese calendar, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. But, each person is supposed to demonstrate certain character traits based on their birthday. I thought it would be interesting to find out what the Chinese say about Grace, Kyle, and me. I'll let you guess who is the goat and who is the rat, but I will tell you that Grace's birthday falls under the sign of the pig. The Pig symbolizes such character traits as diligence, compassion, and generosity. Pigs enjoy life and because they are entertaining, others enjoy their company. Pigs are giving souls and reap much enjoyment when they’re helping others, but sometimes they give too much. Honesty is what Pigs give and it’s what they expect to receive in return.