Family: events, activities

January 22, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

Ring in the Chinese Lunar New Year on Sunday at Grace and Saint Peter's Episcopal Church. The Year of the Monkey, year 4702, officially begins today, but the celebrations will take place Sunday afternoon.

The festival features a high Mass at the church at 10 a.m. and entertainment outside the church beginning at 2 p.m.

Outdoor entertainment will include a karate and tai chi show, Oriental folk songs, instrumental music, skits and a dragon and lion performance and demonstration.

The benevolent dragon and the ceremonial lion are believed to ward off evil and bring good luck. The monkey is also thought to bring good luck. According to Chinese beliefs, monkeys are cheerful, energetic, fun, loving, creative, generous and intelligent.

People born in the Year of the Monkey are believed to be blessed with good luck and are described as inventive, clever and successful.

Previous Years of the Monkey have been in 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908 and 1896 (and so on). Famous people born under the sign of the monkey include Elizabeth Taylor, Harry S. Truman, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Leonardo da Vinci and Julius Caesar.

Predictions for the Year of the Monkey include that this year will be one of change and of momentous and exciting events.

As part of the Chinese festival in Baltimore, a small parade will march the streets around Grace and St. Peter's Episcopal Church at Park Avenue and Monument Street beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The outdoor festivities conclude with a ceremony of Lunar New Year Blessings.

A bilingual evensong worship service with music and readings will take place at 4 p.m. at the church. Organist John M. Marks will perform, as will the Grace and Saint Peter's Parish Choir.

A Chinese dinner will be served in the parish house auditorium dining room at 5:30 p.m. The dinner is by advance registration only. Cost is $12.50 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

According to Lillian Lee Kim, director of the Chinese Language School and the festival's coordinator, the Chinese Lunar New Year was traditionally celebrated as a religious ceremony "in honor of heaven and earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors."

The Chinese New Year begins with the first new moon of the new year, and the celebrations end on the full moon 15 days later. On that day, called the Lantern Festival, a celebration is held in the evening with children carrying lanterns in a parade.

The Chinese Lunar New Year Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Grace and St. Peter's Church, 707 Park Ave. All festival events are free, but dinner is by registration and is $12.50 adults, $5 children. Call 410-377-8143.

For more family events, see Page 34.

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