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Rat On!

Legend has it that the animals of the Chinese zodiac were challenged by Buddha to race across the river to decide which creature would lead off the traditional twelve-year cycle. Because the wily rat had the foresight to leap upon the back of that strong and stolid swimmer, the ox, he was able to leap ashore first, winning the title. Rat, then, is traditionally both charming and ambitious — which, in an election year, is probably a good thing.

The Year of the Rat celebrations began on Thursday and continue for fifteen days, but a spate of events will ring in the New Year properly today and throughout February. If you like to be thorough, the Denver Chinese School hosts its lengthy Asian Pacific Spring Festival Chinese New Year Celebration today from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln High School, 2236 South Federal Boulevard, replete with performances of music, dance and acrobatics, kids' carnival games, vendors and homemade food; admission is $12 to $18, or $30 for reserved seating, and lunch is included. Go to or call 720-529-0980. And the Aurora History Museum, 15051 East Alameda Parkway, offers its own family-friendly Chinese New Year Celebration, with dance, hands-on crafts and storytelling, this afternoon from 2 to 3:30 p.m.; admission is $4 to $5. To register in advance, call 303-326-8650.

But if free is more your style, head to the Far East Center at noon for the Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Association's extraordinary Lion Dance and martial arts performances, followed by firecrackers and lunch wherever you like, courtesy of South Federal's delish diversity of Vietnamese and Chinese joints. For information, log on to
Sat., Feb. 9, 2008


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