Feb 11, 2017
STC 2017 Lunar New Year Blessings Procession
English Flyer 中文海報
Lunar New Year is a time of blessing and prosperity for cultures around the world. Hosted by STC Foundation, in order to bring good fortune for the year to come, we are pleased to announce our first STC 2017 Lunar New Year Blessing Procession.
Bringing Prosperity and Good Luck! Meet Legendary Characters and Free Giveaway Lucky Gifts
Meet Legendary Characters
The Lunar New Year Blessing Procession will feature 12 legendary characters visiting various establishments to bring in blessing and good fortune.
SEVEN MAJOR SHOPPING CENTERS
|| Seasons Place
|| 18558 Gale Ave., City of Industry
|| Broadway Plaza
|| 818 N. Broadway, Los Angeles
|| Little Saigon Village
|| 9500 Bolsa Ave., Westminster
|| Camphor Tree Plaza
|| 2090 S. Euclid St., Anaheim
|| Rowland Ranch Plaza
|| 18881 Colima Rd., Rowland Heights
|| Rowland Heights Plaza
|| 18700 Colima Rd., Rowland Heights
|| Yes Plaza
|| 1747 Fullerton Rd., Rowland Heights
FREE GIVEAWAY LUCKY GIFTS
While supplies last
Understanding these Legendary Characters and Custom
History of Red Envelopes
The legend has it that once upon a time, there was a little monster called “祟” (suì), who made children sick by climbing into their beds when they were fast asleep. One couple made their child a toy out of eight copper coins connected by a red string to play with, in an effort to prevent the child from falling asleep. The parents would keep the light lit and stayed up all night to keep the monster from coming and the monster didn’t come that night. The couple spread the word to their neighbors and friends of how the monster was afraid of coins and the color red, and people started giving out 壓祟錢 (yā suì qián), literally meaning “money to suppress the monster 祟.” Later on, a simpler character 歲was used to replace 祟 and the notion of壓歲錢 came about. After the Ching dynasty, people started wrapping the money in red paper then turned into a red envelope often decorated with gold designs and lucky messages. Wrapping money in red envelopes is expected to bestow more happiness and blessings on the receivers.
The Story of Chinese New Year “Year” (Nian) 年
There are many legends that are part of the Chinese culture. Many of them exemplify moral lessons and teachings for the people and younger generations. One story in particular is the story of Chinese New Years.
Long ago in the mountains, there lived a horrible demon creature named Nian. Every year, on the first day of the year, the creature would awaken and descend upon the village. He would eat all the grain and livestock and the children left outside would disappear. The villagers lived in fear of this beast and boarded up their houses on this night to protect their families. One year, an old man informed the villagers not to be afraid of one breast when there are so many people in the village. He suggested making noises and they discovered the beast dislikes the color red so the villagers lit firecrackers and hung red signs at their front doors. That day, the beast was so scared he never returned. Since then it became a tradition to lit firecrackers, fill the streets with music and drums all day long. Everyone wore red and hung red colored decorations throughout the village. In Chinese, the word for New Years is “Guo Nian” which translates to “Pass over Nian” or “Overcome Nian” and this tradition carried on until now.
The History of Golden Nuggets “Yuan Bao”金元寶
A yuanbao is a small metal ingot that was used in ancient China as currency made out of gold. The value was determined by the weight. The most common shape of a golden nugget is boat shaped, elliptical, oval, with a circular or oval bump in the middle. The shape is comparable to a boat to symbolize the richness transportation from one person to another. Golden nuggets symbolize wealth, abundance and prosperity and is used especially during Lunar New Year. By placing golden nuggets in your house, you can attract wealth and prosperity to you and your family or business.
History of Divination Cups “Jiaobei” 筊杯
Divination cups or “Jiaobei” can also be called as Moon Blocks is one of the most common divination methods used in the Chinese folk religion. They are often made of wood or bamboo and are either red or black in color. This divination tools is used in pairs as a way to seek the directions from the gods or ancestors in temples and home shrines. The worshippers kneel while holding the blocks together on their flat surfaces in the palms. They would silently pray for guidance and be clear when asking the question as each divination session should only be for one problem. The worshipper would toss the blocks and watch how they land. If the cups land with one on the flat side down and one on the round side down then the answer is Yes. If both landed on the flat side down then the answer is No. However, if they land both on the round side down it means it’s a laughing answer as the worshipper is not sincere enough or the time is not right to seek divine direction. Lastly if one or two of the blocks is standing erect then the gods do not understand the question being asked. This method is still commonly practiced today.
History of Chinese Lanterns
Paper lanterns, originating from Eastern Han Dynasty, mainly were used as lamps in ancient China. A variety of crafts were used in their making such as Chinese paintings, paper-cutting, and pricking and seaming and many kinds of materials such as bamboo, wood, wheat-straw and metal were used in their manufacture. Paper and silk were the major materials. Originally, monks used lanterns on the twelfth day of the first lunar month in their worship of the Buddha. The imperial palace and citizens also light lanterns to worship the Buddha just as the monks did. Later, this custom gradually became a grand festival among common people. During the Tang Dynasty, people made lanterns to celebrate their peaceful life while the splendid illuminations symbolized and celebrated the prosperous, strong and powerful country. Once used for lighting now becomes a decorative and symbol used for celebration and during the annual lantern festiva.
Third Prince 三太子
The Chinese history is full of legends and stories that teach and guide us through its culture. The Buddhism religion is deeply rooted in many of the Myths and legends surrounding Taiwanese gods. The most well known deity Nezha is also called ‘Santaizi’ otherwise referred to as ‘Third Prince’. Brave and courageous, Third Prince not only had a mystical birth, he also sacrificed his mortal life fighting for his family and people. In traditional folklore, Third Prince flies around swiftly on his Wind Fire Wheels, with the Universe Ring on one hand and a Fire-tipped Spear on the other as he guards and protects his people. The Third Prince has become a quintessential Taiwanese cultural icon collaborating elements from the new and old traditions. The upbeat progressive music is combined with traditional representation, blessing the rich Taiwanese culture and people.
God of Fortune 財神爺
Cai Shen (財神) is the Chinese God of Fortune and he is often seen during celebrations that call for auspicity, such as the Lunar New Year. The God of Fortune is a majestic figure, robed in silk embroideries with exquisite designs, while holding a gigantic solid gold boat shaped golden nugget known as a Yuan Bao (元寶).
Legend says that every Lunar New Year, the God of Fortune descends from the Heavenly Kingdom to inspect the status of his worshippers. His worshippers must begin their reverence in the early morning. Worshippers create an inviting environment for him to enter into by offering incense and setting up pictures of him with lucky offerings such as tangerines and oranges. On the second day of Lunar New Year, worshippers will burn the picture of the God of Fortune to symbolize seeing the deity back to the Heavenly Kingdom while praying for a luckier and more prosperous year. He then leaves back to the Heavenly Kingdom and bestows wealth and prosperity unto his followers.
Followers have a variety of food they offer and eat to bring more prosperity, with some examples being oranges, dumplings, and whole fish. Dumplings are said to closely resemble golden Yuan Bao, and thus bring fortune as do golden Yuan Bao. Oranges share similar sounding words to the Chinese word for gold, and are especially fortuitous with leaves attached, symbolizing longevity. Whole fish sounds similar to the Chinese word for abundance, and must be served whole to symbolize a good start and finish to avoid bad luck throughout the year.
Mulan and Mushu
Once upon a time, during the northern Wei dynasty, there lived a girl in ancient China named Hua Mulan. Mulan's father was a retired general and he had come home sick and frail from war. While he was too old to fight, he believed everyone should know how to fight, even girls so he taught Mulan how to ride a horse and use a sword when girls usually did not learn these skills.
One day, the government officials sent warriors to Mulan's village to fight in the army during the war. One man was required to enlist from each family and Mulan’s father’s name was listed. Mulan knew her father would never survive another battle so while she wants to go in his place, the military did not take girls as replacements for fighting men. Quietly, the next morning, before her father could report for duty, Mulan stole his armor and disguised herself as a man to report for duty. Mulan was very careful over the years and no one ever suspected she was a girl. When the war was over, Mulan received a special award from the emperor himself for her outstanding courage. Mulan became the legendary heroine that inspired many young women for all future generations.
A Disney adaptation of Mulan included a dragon named Mushu that was sent by Mulan’s ancestors to protect her along her journey. Mushu kept her company and provided her guidance while she disguised herself as a man to fighting the Huns, and saving the emperor from attack. While Mushu is a clumsy companion, he definitely kept Mulan in company and eventually assisted with the defeat of the Huns. Mushu is ultimately granted a position as the family guardian by the ancestors.
General Li Shang was a general and minister of the former Han Dynasty and is the founding ancestor of the “Li” surname. Throughout his term he conquered many cities and gained high respect from the emperor. In the Disney adaptation of Mulan, General Shang was responsible to train new recruits, including Mulan, and lead them into the mountains to follow the main imperial army. He is reserved, thoughtful, logical, and very brave. He led his army to defeat the Huns with Mulan and Mushu’s help and after saving the empire, he professed his love for Mulan.
Wu Zetian “Empress Wu” 武則天
Another female hero of China is Empress Wu Zetian from the Tang Dynasty, the only female in Chinese history to rule as emperor. Wu was born into a rich and noble family and taught to play music, write, and read Chinese classics. She’s known for her wit, intelligence and beauty by age thirteen and recruited to the court of Emperor Tai Tsung. She soon became his favorite concubine but after he died, she became the concubine of the new emperor Kao Tsung. Over the years she took over the administrative duties of the court when the emperor suffered a crippling stroke. When he died, she took over the power to rule and acted no differently than most male emperors of her day. She was known to be ruthless and power hungry but she was able to effectively ruled China during one of its more peaceful and culturally diverse periods. Empress Wu’s political and military leadership includes major expansion of Chinese empire, extending it far beyond its previous territorial limits.
Yang GuiFei “Lady Yang” 楊貴妃
Yang Gui Fei, Lady Yang, was one of the four well known beauties of ancient China. Lady Yang lived in Tang Dynasty and began her court life when she was made the wife of an Imperial prince. This marriage did not last long as she caught the attention of her father-in-law, the reigning emperor Tang Ming Huang. As the Emperor’s attraction towards her grew, she was made a Taoist priestess as part of a process designed to assist her transition from the wife of a prince to the reigning emperor’s concubine. When she finally entered the palace, she became the favorite concubine of Tang Ming Huang. He built a hot spring for her to spend the cold Spring months. Lady Yang’s favorite fruit was lychees, so during the lychee season, the emperor ordered relay horses to transport fresh lychees from southern China into the palace for her enjoyment. He found great joy in bringing her her favorite food dishes and anything to her likings.
Because of Lady Yang, the Emperor is said to have neglected his duties, and the Tang Dynasty was greatly weakened by a rebellion. Lady Yang was blamed for distracting the Emperor and executed for the fall of the empire. Lady Yang’s death marked the end of her love story with Tang Ming Huang. Despite the tragic ending, her fame and their love story continue to fascinate generations of writers, poets and even artists and movie directors today.
Terra Cotta Warrior 秦甬
The Chin Dynasty was the first dynasty of Imperial China when the famous founding emperor Chin Shi Huang conquered and united 6 kingdoms to gain control over the whole of China. Qin Shi Huang became obsessed with eternal life and searched extensively for an elixir of immortality. In fear of being alone, he also built a Terracotta army, intended to protect the himself after his death in his mausoleum. The Terracotta army was inconspicuous due to its underground location, and was not discovered until 1974 and estimated to have more than 8,000 soldiers with hundreds of chariots and horses. The warriors were found to be life-sized and each is unique like a real person. The goal of the warriors is to protect the emperor in the underworld and follow him into immortality.
Erlang Shen 二郎神
Er-Lang Shen is known as the greatest warrior god of heaven, the nephew of the Jade Emperor in heaven. He has a third-eye on his forehead, the truth seeing eye that has the ability to differentiate truth and lies and see through deceptions. It can also fire continuous highly destructive energy blasts of power. Erlang Shen is a noble and powerful Warrior God that slays and vanquishes Demons and Monsters in the mortal realm and embodies justice and righteousness. With his contribution to human kind, Er-Lang Shen is ultimately worshiped as a divine god.