What’s better than celebrating the welcoming of a new year? Celebrating it twice!
Yesterday, we headed to New York to celebrate the welcoming of the New Chinese Year. It is no secret that New York houses one of the biggest Chinese communities of the Northeast, known as Chinatown, and like expected, everyone were in a festive spirit by the time we arrived.
It was almost impossible to walk around. The amount of people gathered in the streets were probably bigger than we had expected but that didn’t make our experience any less exciting. We devoured steamed buns, jumped in surprise at every firecracker explosion, laughed, posed for pictures.
The color red was very prominent around the city. And that was to be expected since red is associated in the Chinese Culture as a color capable of scaring of the evil spirits and bad luck.
We also witnessed something we hadn’t noticed before and that was the dancing of dragons. Not every shop in Chinatown was opened, but the ones who were were rewarded by the arrival of the dragons who, with their dance, stood in front of each opened business bringing hopes of good fortune for the new year.
This experience reminded us, once again, that it really doesn’t matter where we are from or which culture we were raised by. In the end, we are all capable of sharing the same things in despite of our language barriers and culture differences: hopes for a brighter future and a indescribable sense of happiness, unity and love.
Do you think the black “lucky cat” brings bad luck, or that the red one will attract love? Think again. Though most of the western countries associate the color “red” with romance and love, Japan, on the other hand, has a totally different meaning for the color “red”. So, if you want to walk into a Japanese store and come out with the right Lucky cat, then read on! ^o^
Maneki Neko Color Meanings:
Black : A Maneki Neko that is mainly or entirely black means “Good luck”.
Gold: A gold “lucky cat” means good fortune, which is generally associated with money.
Red: In ancient Japan, there are many references that people back then strongly believed the color red to be associated with health. They considered it to be the direct symbol of fire and life (since animal blood is red and human’s life depends on meat consumption). Therefore a red Maneki Neko will luck your health up!
Pink: A pink Maneki Neko might finally turn your love luck around! Having a pink lucky kitten is said to bring you good love fortune. ^o^
Yellow: It literally means to have a “good match”. I tried to research more on this, but it seems that the “good match” associations seems to be a general one. It could be a romantic “good match” or a business partner “good match”.
Blue: I was surprised to find this one out. A blue Maneki Neko will bring you safety. What kind of safety? It seems to be a general kind of “safety” but I came across many sources that associated a blue Maneki Neko with safety when crossing the streets. It can also bring good academic fortune!
White: I would have bet my money on this one. I thought a white Maneki Neko meant purity or cleanliness. But a white lucky cat is said to bring fortune, but it was more associated with happiness. So, could we agree that a white beckoning cat means better luck with happiness? ^o^
Green: A green Maneki Neko is believed to keep your wife safe and also bring you academic improvement.
Calico: The Maneki neko with brownish spots it’s believed to bring you the best of fortunes.
Leopard: Yes, there is a leopard-themed Maneki neko! This one seems to mean “lead to vote”, so it’s believed to bring good luck in politics.
Amazing places and websites I found in this research:
Are you traveling to Japan next summer? This place teaches visitor how to paint your own Maneki Neko!!!
[addlink url=”http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://manekineko-m.jp/&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25E6%258B%259B%25E3%2581%258D%25E7%258C%25AB%26biw%3D1366%26bih%3D643″ text=”Maneki Neko Seminars”]
Maneki Neko has a museum in Japan!!! It actually has many, but really. That’s amazing!!
[addlink url=”http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.luckycat.ne.jp/&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25E6%258B%259B%25E3%2581%258D%25E7%258C%25AB%26biw%3D1366%26bih%3D643″ text=”Check out the Museum”]
[addlink url=”http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.geocities.jp/shimizuke1955/2200manekineko.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25E6%258B%259B%25E3%2581%258D%25E7%258C%25AB%2B%25E6%25AD%25B4%25E5%258F%25B2%26biw%3D1366%26bih%3D643″ text=”I think this could be another museum ^o^”]
Want to have the ultimate Maneki Neko experience???? The Ultimate???? Really???
Well, there is a Lucky Cat Coffee!!!
Don’t believe me? Check it out :D
[addlink url=”http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25E6%258B%259B%25E3%2581%258D%25E7%258C%25AB%26biw%3D1366%26bih%3D643&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ja&u=http://www.omodakaya.jp/artstage/cafe.html&usg=ALkJrhgIpkfmUnRnCi5x5XrT-TNcnpBoIg” text=”Maneki Neko Coffee Shop!!!”]