Classical Chinese Garden
NW 3rd and Everett, Portland, OR, 97208, 503-228-8131
The Portland Classical Chinese Garden is an authentic Suzhou-style garden located in the heart of Portland's China Town/Old Town district.

About the Garden

The Year of the Horse

In February, the Portland Classical Chinese Garden welcomes the Chinese lunar New Year 4700, the Year of the Horse. As the most prominent celebration in the Chinese calendar, the New Year is a time for family and new beginnings. Lasting for fifteen days, the New Year Celebration culminates with the Lantern Festival.

There are many traditions and fairy tales that surround Chinese New Year. One fairy tale speaks of a monster called Nian. According to legend, Nian, synonymous with the Chinese word for 'year', was a large monster that had a huge mouth and fed on people annually before the New Year. One day, an old man offered to help the people drive off Nian. He approached Nian and persuaded him not to eat the people in the villages but instead to eat the other monsters of the forest. After Nian left to eat the other monsters, the old man cautioned the people to guard against the return of Nian. He said to hang red banners by the door and to set off firecrackers since the noise and the color red scared Nian. So today, red banners are hung on the door frames and firecrackers are still set off on the New Year.

The New Year is also a time of specific taboos since actions during the New Year set the tone for the rest of the year. People are careful to avoid cursing so as not to 'curse' their luck. Using scissors and knives are avoided so as not to 'cut' your luck. Lending money or items on New Year symbolizes lending them all year, so this is rarely done. Lastly, sweeping is not done on the New Year , since you did not want to 'sweep out' your luck.

Gifts are also an important part of the New Year celebration, and the most common gifts are red envelopes of money called 'hong bao'. The red envelopes are primarily given to children and young adults. These gift are like Christmas presents, but can also be considered birthday presents since everyone is considered to be one year older on the Chinese New Year.

We invite you to join us beginning February 15th for activities including a lion dance, puppet shows, storytelling, a coloring contest, and art exhibition to ring in the Year of the Horse.


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