Time to celebrate Chinese New Year Wednesday marks the...

January 18, 2001|By Tricia Bishop

Time to celebrate Chinese New Year

Wednesday marks the start of the Chinese New Year, a 4,699-year-old annual Chinese holiday that itself marks the start of the new lunar year. The holiday is symbolized cyclically by one of 12 animals.

Legend has it that just before dying, Buddha called all animals to him. He honored the first 12 to arrive by naming a year after them. They include the dog, rat, rabbit, snake and horse.

Each of the dozen animals, possessing varying characteristics, takes turns representing a lunar calendar year. This year, it's the snake's turn to govern time with its qualities of elegance and sensibility.

The Elkridge Branch Library celebrates the event Monday by presenting a program about snakes. A representative from Today's Pet in Columbia Mall will visit the library, bringing a variety of reptiles, including snakes, and other animals along. He'll explain their ecology and the differences between amphibians and mammals.

Kids will be able to ask questions of him and touch some of the animals. Also, the children's librarian will share folk tales and read stories about slithering creatures, including "Verdi" by Janell Cannon, which chronicles the staying-young mission of a bright-yellow python.

A parental-permission slip is required. 3 p.m., 6540 Washington Blvd., 410-313-5085.

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