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Locals gear up to celebrate the Chinese New Year, year of the rabbit

Young girls in Sorrento Valley's Golden Dragon after-school program and women from Blue Ming Asian Artists plan to perform for New Year's events this weekend.

SAN DIEGO — The Chinese New Year Festival has been celebrated at Balboa Park since 1935. This is the year of the rabbit. In Chinese culture, the rabbit is one of the luckiest of the 12 animals in the zodiac. 

The New Year represents washing away the bad luck and bringing in all the good luck.

Lion and dragon dances are very popular in China, especially during the Chinese New Year.

Young girls in the Golden Dragon after-school program in Sorrento Valley and women from the Blue Ming Asian Artists plan to perform for New Year's events this weekend.

The loud noise of the drums during their dances is said to drive all the bad luck and spirits away.

Before the New Year kicks off this weekend, it’s a Chinese tradition to spring clean to get rid of bad luck.

"For the New Year's holiday, the kitchen has to be rest. You do not cook, you do not clean, and you do not sew. We need a break that day. If you want to respect that, you should," said Lily Zhou, Vice President of the House of China in Balboa Park.

The Chinese calendar goes in a cycle of 12 years. Each year is represented by a different animal. In the Chinese zodiac, rabbits were born in 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, and so on.

"Rabbits are pretty smart. People born in the year of the rabbit are pretty smart and kind. 

They have great talent and make friends easily," said Dr. Allen Chan, Founder/CEO of Jasmine's Seafood and Express Restaurant in Kearney Mesa. 

"All the food is associated with the year's prosperity," said Zhou.

The Chinese New Year isn’t on the same day every year. It occurs with a new moon when there is a new lunar cycle. The celebration lasts 15 days and ends when there is a full moon.

Another tradition: children receive red envelopes with money inside!

"The red packets are for adults to give to kids for good luck, so they have good luck in school and use them to buy things they want and save for college," said Dr. Chan.

You can catch Chinese New Year performances at Jasmine’s Seafood Restaurant and the International Cottages at Balboa Park this weekend. 

WATCH RELATED: Chinese New Year Festival being held in Balboa Park on January 21-22

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