Take Your Pick: Don Mardi Gras Beads or Set off Chinese New Year Fireworks

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That’s right, folks, mid-February, 2015 is marked as a truly multicultural time of over-the-top celebrations.
First a little history*, beginning with Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, which dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites.  It is celebrated in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations–on the day before the religious season of Lent begins.  And as most of us know, Venice, Brazil and New Orleans play host to some of the holiday’s most public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year.

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In honor of the New Orleans tradition, Wordsmith Maggie invites you to visit http://www.cooking.com for the site’s rendition of “Gumbo for a Crowd”, which takes 45 minutes total preparation time.  Served with rice, cornbread, or both, it’s a true crowd pleaser!

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On the dessert side, Mardi Gras isn’t complete without a sweet and colorful King Cake. Filled with cinnamon and sugar, WM admits to being just a little bit squeamish about inserting the small plastic baby that’s traditionally found inside King Cakes.  (The person whose slice includes the token gets to make the cake for next year’s gathering–oh joy!)  The decision to include the “surprise” is certainly up to you…  Go to allrecipes.com for the recipe to make this oval-shaped New Orleans confection, but be forewarned, it’ll take about 4.5 hours, start to finish.
*Source: http://www.history.com

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On to the other side of the globe, Feb.19th is Chinese New Year–the most important holiday for Chinese people worldwide.  This annual event boasts being the largest annual human migration on earth, with 2.8 billion (with a “b”) souls trekking across the vast expanse of the middle kingdom.  “The mass exodus of students, migrant laborers, factory workers and office workers setting off on the trip called chun yun, or spring movement, is [graphically] illustrated by location data from Chinese search engine Baidu.*

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Every year has one of 12 animals assigned to it; 2015 being the Year of the Goat.  “The goat is said to refer peace, is most comfortable at home, and is artistic but resistant to change.”*
The Nehow.com China Travel Company, is one of this year’s largest supporters of 2015 Chinese New Year events across America, participating in festivities in several major cities including five in California, as well as Las Vegas, Washington, DC, Houston, Colorado and, of course Seattle.
“Thousands of people will flock to the streets of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District this month to try amazing authentic dishes and usher in the Year of the Goat. This vibrant and traditional celebration wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our community partners like Nehow.com”, said Mary Do, organizer of the Seattle-Lunar New Year Celebration.
So get your Sino-American cultural groove on and partake in Chinese New Year in YOUR neighborhood!
* Sources: http://www.independent.co.uk

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