Dragons, a baby boom, and a packed Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival

Alhambra's official Lunar New Year's celebration was last Saturday. Franklin Teng, who works at LAUSD and lives in Alhambra, captured these images. He said that the event was even more crowded than the Photo by Franklin Teng | http://www.flickr.com/photos/franklintengdowntown Chinatown one, and that a highlight for him was "the Snoopy appearance at the MetLife tent and seeing many of the costumed actors who appeared around random tents."

Earlier this year, Alhambra Source asked if anyone had questions about Chinese New Year. In response, people told us they want to know about dragons and babies. For an answer, Alhambra Source writer Jesse Chang turned to his "Ba-Ma" and asked her what the story was. His mother wrote back:

For centuries, the dragon represents the emperor.  No one except the emperor can wear clothing embroidered with dragon.   Yellow also represents royalty.   A son was born during the year of the dragon means that he will become somebody important – hopefully like an emperor. love, mom

Photo by Franklin Teng | http://www.flickr.com/photos/franklintengThe Los Angeles Times' Roxana Xia fills in more information on Chinese dragon mythology, and the character traits that people born under the sign are supposed to possess.

The dragon is also the only mythical creature in the Asian zodiac, a cycle that features 12 animals that embody unique characteristics — a dog is shy but loyal; a tiger aggressive and difficult to get along with. The dragon can swim and fly, traversing the seas as well as heaven. This symbolizes a life with no obstacles.Parents hope a dragon baby will have a better chance of becoming a leader, a modern-day emperor. The child's success in turn brings good fortune to the entire family.

Photo by Franklin Teng | http://www.flickr.com/photos/franklintengAnd locally the dragon baby boom appears to be way underway, according to the Times, with San Gabriel Valley doctors reporting an increase in patients and IVF centers booming.

"We've had a 250% increase in Chinese, Vietnamese clients in the last two months," Kathryn Kaycoff Manos, co-founder of Global IVF and Agency for Surrogacy Solutions in Los Angeles, said.

Kaycoff Manos said she had never seen a cultural trend like this before."When I met a client about a year ago, they told us, 'We only want a baby in the Year of the Dragon,'" she said. "We sort of put that on the back burner, but suddenly we were getting all these phone calls from Asian clients. At first we thought it was because the economy was getting better. Now we understand."

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