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New Year arrives again at library

Madison Public Library is observing Chinese New Year and even welcomed a fire-breathing monster as special guest.

To commemorate 2012 as the Year of the Dragon, the librarians arranged for a “‘dragon’ to come out and speak to the children,” youth services librarian Mandy Pinyan said.

The library staged a Chinese New Year puppet show, which was a takeoff on “why there isn’t a Year of the Cat.” The children learned that folktales are the basis for Chinese traditions associated with the New Year. “We are also reading dragon stories all week at story time,” Pinyan said.

“We have held story times and other programs in the past to celebrate Chinese New Year,” Pinyan said. “This year, we incorporated the event into ‘Family Make-and-Take Day’ with dragon masks for the family to make and wear.”

Pinyan explained that Chinese New Year does not match New Year’s Day on Jan. 1. “It’s often referred to as the Lunar New Year and considered a major holiday with many traditions and significant legends to the culture.”

“Legend has it that, in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one,” Pinyan said.

The legend continues with Buddha announcing that people born in each animal’s year would assume traits in that animal’s personality. “Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave and passionate,” Pinyan said.

The New Year started on the first day of the month, which was Jan. 23, and continues until the fifteenth day of the month at a full moon. “The Chinese New Year holiday is celebrated for this entire time,” Pinyan said.

The library’s Junior Readers will make a paper-link dragon, preschoolers will make ‘dragon breath’ and teenagers will paint dragons in February.

Even the toddlers joined in the celebration by making simple, dragon crafts with youth service librarian Maggie Allen.

For more information, call 256-461-0046 or send email to mpinyan@hmcpl.org.

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