When Tulsi Bloomed At Sai Baba’s Lotus Feet

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

When Tulsi Bloomed At Sai Baba’s Lotus Feet

When my servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close: I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me. (The Quran II : 186)

Karim Sab, (67) shriveled and taciturn, sits every evening on the cuddapah black-stone bench in front of his dormitory. His posture denotes uncertainty, even loneliness, like an autumn-leaf about to be wind-blown; and he waits there till the sunlight turns yellow and makes dull the hills around him. The mid-November mist fills the somnolent air in Anantapur with a chilled invisibility.

As an inmate of the Home for the Aged in this Andhra town, Karim Sab’s life is uneventful. Nothing remarkable has come his way except that he has been a classmate of the one whom he calls “Sathya” — and whom the world now knows as Sathya Sai Baba.

Karim Sab informs this author that he has known BABA in the primary school, six decades ago. Delight ripples over his tired features as he recalls those happy days. His simple faith in Allah rules out questions about the ways of divinity. Calling these experiences as “jewels in the heart” he feels grateful and is content for the chance he has had.

“Even as children,” he tells the visitor, “we were certain that Baba was not like all of us, though He moved and played with us. Hazrat Mohammad Sahib must have been like this. And Lord Jesus Christ—Hazrat Ibraheem.”

When shown the photo of Baba he grows reminiscent: “As a child He was tiny for His age—yes, the same generous mouth and those large black eyes too were there. They sparkled like pools at sunset. Once we were free — it was a drill period — and Baba led us to play in the open space in front of the school building. We refused, of course.”

“Why?” enquires the visitor.

“The ground was hard with sharp stones and gravel. We were poor, no shoes for us. We said so, but He wouldn’t listen. ‘Come’ He insisted, ‘See, see, I can run.’ He started running over the crushed earth as if it was velvet. We hesitated looking suspiciously. And ah! wonder of wonders! Before our wide eyes it changed. Wherever His feet touched, a Tulsi plant sprang up immediately, just like that.”

Karim Sab stops, breathing heavily as if he has been reliving the moment. He mused:

“Yes, we looked on, as He ran lightly on the ground patch by patch, it turned to glowing green. The whole place was covered with Tulsi that sent a faint welcome smell! No, not the plant, but a low dense bushy type of growth. We ran to this carpet, rolled on it, stamped and wallowed till we were exhausted, and then we lay there, flat on our backs, panting for breath. The fresh aroma rose and covered us too, soothing like the touch of a warm blanket. Through its haziness we saw Him stand above us, hands folded behind, an unspeakable tenderness playing on lips.”

Karim Sab suddenly stops, overwhelmed by the intensity of his recollections. When questioned further he admits that he recalls that incredible event often. Now that the world has forgotten him, each evening he comes, sits on this bench and waits. Sometimes the newly sprouted Tulsi’s smell rises with the mists of the evening and enfolds him as an assurance, fervid yet cordial. “How often it happens?” comes the skeptical question. He is reluctant. Not everything can be demanded by an intruder. Yet he remains polite. “Yes …. not very often,” he says softly, “but yes Tulsi comes from nowhere and fills the whole air.”

—Prof. Zeba Bashiruddin (extracted from Sanathana Sarathi Nov 1992)


How Sathya Sai Baba Cured A Cancer Patient

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

How Sathya Sai Baba Cured A Cancer Patient On 15th January 2009

The Following was Related by a very Dear Sai Brother V.Sarvothamudu from Hyderabad:

Dear all,

I would like to narrate an extraordinary incident that happened few days ago.

Brother B. Srinivas from Puttaparthy informed me that they have identified a deserving case to be taken up for medical treatment for cancer, at Hyderabad. One Smt. Narasamma aged nearly 70, a resident of Venkatareddy palli near penukonda, was certified by the doctors (after conducting the necessary tests) at Anantapur that she was suffering with Uterus cancer and to be sent for treatment to the Indo American cancer Hospital Hyderabad.

Immediately Brother BS called up and said that, they are sending her with three of her family members, by the night train and they would be at Hyderabad by 5 A.M on Saturday, the 9th of Jan. 2009. He wanted me to take care take care of their stay arrangements at Hyderabad and wanted me to show her at Indo American Cancer Hospital for treatment. As she had the coverage under Arogyasree of A.P. State medical Scheme, there was no necessity of spending any amount either for the tests or for the proposed treatment.

The next day four of them have landed in the morning and I arranged their stay at Hotel Nataraj, which is near Kacheguda station. Brother Indraneil Benerjee, who traveled along with coordinated in bringing them to the hotel and leaving them. Next day being Sunday, I could not arrange for the check up treatment.

In the meantime, with the permission of the competent authorities at Sivam, I shifted her from the Hotel accommodation to the Premises of Sivam, as I felt that, she would have the divine vibrations, which may give her some positive vibrations for getting relieved of the pain, which she was suffering.

On Monday morning, she was taken to the Hospital for treatment. Dr. Narsimham garu of Puttaparthy has helped us by contacting the known doctors over there and directed us to meet them for treatment. On 12th Morning, tests were conducted for the patient and the lady doctor there expressed with Mr. Raghunath, the son of Smt. Narsamma, that her condition is very bad and she doen’t want it to be disclosed to the patient, as she may get disturbed mentally. In fact Mr. Raghu shared this information with me and felt very sad. Doctors have asked Mr. Raghunath to come for the reports on the next working day, i.e. on 15th of Jan 2009, as Bogi and Sankranthi festivals have fallen on 13th and 14th of January 2009.

In the meanwhile, they have stayed in Sivam and attended the special programmes too. On 13th night Smt. Narsamma had a dream at about 4A.M. in the morning, and she said Bhagavan appeared to her and applied vibhuti on her stomach and rubbed it with force. Later Swami assured to take care of her. She had narrated this to me when I went to visit them that night.

Because I had heard the doctors version through her son the before day, I half heartedly consoled her, saying nothing would happen as Bhagavan has assured and treated her in His divine way. At that point of time, I never knew that this is going to be a reality. In fact this I shared with my brother and some of my collogues that her condition as per doctor is critical and I only pray Bhagavan to make her dream come true. Thursday when the reports have come, to our utter disbelief, doctors have confirmed that the reports have not revealed any malignancy. However they wanted the patient to undergo biopsy too to rule out even an iota of doubt. Hence, on Saturday, ie 17 Jan we took her again to the Hospital and got her biopsy done as per the doctor’s advice. Now the faith on the divine healing has increased in all of us to the extent of 90%, as Bhagavan always says, we are all doubting Thomases’.

This is the reason precisely, I waited till today for the biopsy reports too to come and after it is established once again that there is no problem of cancer, I am venturing to share with you the lovely Miracle of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, which has cancelled the Cancer of Smt. Narasamma, a humble devotee of the Lord.

In fact, the day they were leaving for their village on Saturday evening, I took two Photographs of Smt. Narasamma, which I attach for you to just see.

It has been our experience that whenever, His students have taken up an activity, His divine play was always there taking care with the love of thousand mothers.


Smt Narasamma

Smt Narasamma

Know The Secret Of Happiness That The Gopis Knew

Know The Secret Of Happiness That The Gopis Knew

Gopis were very unique, as devotees. They had no consciousness of the body at all; they were all the while attached only to the principle that is embodied in It. They were eager to know the `other’, not to experience ‘this’. As a matter of fact, it is the identification with the gross body that lies at the root of all the cruelty, injustice, greed, violence and falsehood that parade all over the world. It is this that breeds desire, that multiplies wants, that makes man ride on the waves of whim and fancy. When he is not able to catch up with his ambition, man becomes a prey to disappointment and grief, hate and avarice.

If you ask God to fulfil your wishes, your worship is degraded into an act of bargaining; your reverence is equated with what you receive; you are selling homage for so much of satisfaction. You become a paid servant, a hired labourer, insisting on wages and calculating how much is got for the work done. Be on the other hand, a member of the family, feel that you are the Lord’s own, do every task as `my work’ `my task’ without any idea of the return therefore; then the work does not tire, it is done well. When this attitude is taken up by you, you feel not clamour for wages at all. The Master will maintain you and your people as He feels you deserve. This secret of happiness the Gopis knew; you must also live out your lives on these lines.

(Sri Sathya Sai Baba – extracted from Divine Discourse on 19th August 1965)


Night Of Shiva – Siva Celebration – Mahashivaratri 2009 – Maha Shivarathri 2009 – February 23rd 2009

Night Of Shiva – Siva Celebration – Mahashivaratri 2009 – Maha Shivarathri 2009 – February 23rd 2009

Shivaratri Will Be Celebrated On Monday, February 23rd 2009
Auspicious festival of Mahashivaratri falls on the 13th or the 14th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalgun. The Sanskrit term, Krishna Paksha means the period of waning moon or the dark fortnight and Phalguna corresponds to the month of February – March in English Calendar. Shivaratri Festival is celebrated on the moonless night. (Mahashivratri Reference)

Mahashivaratri Lord Shiva

Mahashivaratri Lord Shiva

Maha Shivratri (“Night of Shiva” or “Great Night of Shiva”) is a Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 13th night / 14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu Calendar (that is, the night before and day of the new moon). The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. In North India and Nepal, many people consume bhang (cannabis sativa), which is believed to be Lord Shiva’s favourite drink

Tripundra refers to the three horizontal stripes of holy ash (vibuthi) applied to the forehead by worshippers of Lord Shiva. These stripes symbolise spiritual knowledge, purity and penance (spiritual practice of Yoga) and also represent the three eyes of Lord Shiva.

On Shivaratri, only cold water and bael leaves are offered to the Lingam. Other traditional offerings, such as bathing it in milk and Panchamruta (a mixture of milk, curds, ghee, sugar and honey) or annointing it with vermilion (kumkum) or white consecrated rice (Akshata) are not done on this day, when Lord Shiva is worshipped as the deity of dissolution.

Wikipedia Reference For Maha Shivaratri

Sathya Sai Shiva

Sathya Sai Shiva

Sathya Sai Baba Speaks About Shivaratri

Endeavour. That is the main thing, that is the inescapable task for all mortals. Even those who deny God today will have one day to tread the pilgrim road, melting their hearts out in tears of travail. If you make the slightest effort to progress along the path of liberation, the Lord will help you a hundred-fold. Shivaraathri conveys that hope to you. The moon, which is the presiding deity of the mind of man, wanes, until on the fourteenth day after full moon, it is just a tiny curve of glimmering glow. The mind too must be starved into that condition, so that man becomes free. Spend all the days with Shiva and the conquest of the mind is easy. Spend the fourteenth day of the waning moon with Shiva, reaching the climax of spiritual effort on that final day, and success is yours. That is why all the Chaturdasis (fourteenth days of the dark half of every month) are called Shivaraathris (Shiva’s nights); that is why the Chaturdasi of the Magha month is called Mahaa Shivaraathri.

This is a day of special dedication to Shiva, and since so many of you here and elsewhere pray to Shiva, the Lingha is emanating from Me for you all to receive the grace and the bliss of the great moment of Linghodhbhava (emergence of the Linga).

The three eyes of Shiva are the eyes which reveal the past, present and the future. Shiva alone has all three. The elephant skin which forms His cloak is just a symbol for the elemental bestial primitive traits which His grace destroys; he makes them powerless and harmless; in fact, he tears them to pieces, skins them so to say, and makes them ineffective. His four faces symbolise Shaantham, Roudhram, Mangalam, and Uthsaaham (peace, fierceness, auspiciousness, determination). In this way, realise while worshiping the Lingam, the inner sense of the many attributes of Shiva. Meditate thus on Shiva this day, so that you may get rid of the last lingering vestiges of delusion.

Do not tell Me that you do not care for that bliss, that you are satisfied with the delusion and are not willing to undergo the rigours of sleeplessness. Your basic nature, believe Me, abhors this dull, dreary routine of eating, drinking, and sleeping. It seeks something which it knows it has lost – Shaanthi (inward contentment). It seeks liberation from bondage to the trivial and the temporary. Every one craves for it in his heart of hearts. And it is available only in one shop – Contemplation of the highest self, the basis of all this appearance.

When you realise Shivoham (I am Shiva), then, you have all the happiness, all the auspiciousness that there is. Shiva is not to be sought on the peak of a distant range of mountains, or in some other special place. You must have heard that sin and merit are inherent in the acts that men do; so too, Shiva is inherent in every thought, word and deed, for He is the energy, the power, the intelligence that is behind each of them.

Shiva is worshipped with the three-leaved Bilva, for, He is immanent in the three worlds, in the three phases of time, in the three attributes of nature. He removes the three types of grief; He has no basis outside Him; He is the source of bliss; He is the embodiment of the sweetness and efficacy of nectar. Since every being is Shiva-Swaruupa (of the nature of Shiva) – for without Shiva, it is mere ‘Shava’ (corpse) – man has to live up to that divine status.

Love brings people together; hatred drives them apart. You cannot be happy, when you cause misery to others. God showers grace when the nine steps of Bhakthi (devotion) are observed. Masters or rulers can be won over by the same means – sacrifice, love, devotion, dedication in the path of duty. When success is achieved by means of unrest and violence, it has to be preserved and prolonged only by further unrest and violence.

Therefore, let this be the lesson of Shivaraathri for you: Shiva is in all beings and all things. He is the inner motivator. Be aware of this always; do not cause pain to any one, do not harm or injure anyone, or hurt his self-respect. Love all alike, cultivate tolerance and spread brotherliness.

(Gathered From Various Discourses By Sathya Sai Baba)

Night Of Shiva Blessings

Night Of Shiva Blessings

Various Spellings For The Night Of Lord Shiva:

  • Shivratri
  • Sivratri
  • Shivaratri
  • Shivarathri
  • Sivaratri
  • Sivarathri
  • Mahashivaratri
  • Mahashivarathri
  • Mahasivaratri
  • Mahasivarathri
  • Maha Shivaratri
  • Maha Shivarathri
  • Shivaraathri
  • Shivaraatri
  • Shiva Ratri
  • Siva Ratri
  • Shiva Rathri
  • Siva Rathri
  • Mahaashivaraathri
  • Mahaasivaraathri
  • Mahaashivaraatri
  • Mahaasivaraatri
  • Mahaa ShivaRaathri
  • Mahaa SivaRaathri
  • Mahaa ShivaRaatri
  • Mahaa SivaRaatri
  • Mahashivratri
  • Mahasivratri
  • Mahaashivratri
  • Mahaasivratri
  • Shivratari
  • Sivratari
  • Sivratari
  • Maha Shivratari
  • Mahaa Shivratari
  • Mahashivratari
  • Mahaashivratari
  • Maha Sivratari
  • Mahaa Sivratari
  • Mahasivratari
  • Mahaasivratari
  • Herath (In Kashmir)
  • Har-Rathri
  • Har-Ratri
  • Hara Rathri
  • Hara Ratri

Shiva Lingam Puja

Shiva Lingam Puja

The Story Of King Chitrabhanu
In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. The story goes as follows – Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri. The sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king.

The sage asked the king the purpose of his observing the past. King Chitrabhanu explained that he had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.

The king said to the sage that in his previous he was a hunter in Varanasi and his name was Suswara. His only livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals. One day while roaming through forests in search of animals he was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, he climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a Bael tree. He had shot a deer that day but had no time to take it home. So he bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As hunger and thirst tormented him, he was kept awake throughout the night. He shed profuse tears when he thought of his poor wife and children who were starving and anxiously waiting for his return. To pass away the time that night he engaged himself in plucking the Bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground.

The next day he returned home and sold the deer and then bought some food for himself and his family. The moment he was about to break his fast a stranger came to him, begging for food. He served the food first to stranger and then had his own.

At the time of his death, he saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sent down to conduct his soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. He learnt then for the first time of the great merit he had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri. The messengers told him that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam. His tears, which had shed out of pure sorrow for his family, fell onto the Lingam and washed it and he had fasted all day and all night. Thus, he unconsciously worshiped the Lord.

As the conclusion of the tale the King said that he lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages and now he has reborn as Chitrabhanu.
(Maha Shivaratri – King Chitrabhanu)

Shiva Shakti

Shiva Shakti

The Festivity Of MahaShivaratri
People observe a strict fast on this day. Some devotees do not even take a drop of water and they keep vigil all night. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc., whilst the chanting of the Mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” continues. Offerings of Bael leaves are made to the Lingam as Bael leaves are considered very sacred and it is said that Goddess Lakshmi resides in them.

Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, such as the “Shiva Mahimna Stotra” of Pushpadanta or Ravana’s “Shiva Tandava Stotra” are sung with great fervour and devotion. People repeat the ‘Panchakshara’ Mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya”. He, who utters the names of Shiva during Shivratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins. He reaches the abode of Shiva and lives there happily. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths. Many pilgrims dock to the places where there are Shiva temples.
(MahaShivaratri – The Festivity)

Shiva Nataraja

Shiva Nataraja

About Lord Shiva
Shiva – the word meaning auspicious – is one of the Hindu Trinity, comprising of Lord Brahma, the creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva or Mahesh, the Destroyer and Re-Producer of life. Shiva is known by many names like “Shankar”, “Mahesh”, “Bholenath”, “Neelakanth”, “Shambhu Kailasheshwar”, “Umanath”, “Nataraj” and others.

For few people, Shiva is “Paramatman”, “Brahman”, the Absolute, but many more prefer to see Shiva as a personal God given to compassion for his worshippers, and the dispenser of both spiritual and material blessings. Related to the Absolute concept is Shiva as “Yoganath” meaning the Lord of Yoga, wherein he becomes teacher, path and goal. As such he is the “Adi Guru” or the Highest Guru of ‘Sannyasins’ who have renounced the world to attain the Absolute.

Siva is the most sought-after deity amongst the Hindus and they pray to him as the god of immense large-heartedness who they believe grants all their wishes. Around him are weaved many interesting stories that reveal His magnanimous heart. Not only this, but these stories and legends also enrich the Indian culture and art.

Time is invisible and formless. Therefore Mahakal Shiva, as per the Vedas, manifested himself as “LINGAM” to make mankind aware of the presence of Eternal Time. That day when Shiva manifested himself in the form of “Lingum” was the fourth day of the dark night in the month of ‘Magha’ i.e. February-March. Maha Shivratri continues to be celebrated forever and ever.
(Maha Shivarathri – About The Lord)

Shiva Ram Hanuman

Shiva Ram Hanuman

All Mahashivaratri Wallpapers – Maha Shivarathri Backgrounds – Maha Sivaratri Desktops Can Be Enlarged By Clicking On The Thumbnails. May The Blessings Of Lord Shiva Be With You! Namaste.

Teachers Draw Roadmap For Education In Human Values

Teachers Draw Roadmap For Education In Human Values
26 Jan 2009, 0502 hrs IST, TNN

PANCHKULA: Teachers from various schools of Panchkula and Chandigarh on Sunday drew a roadmap for Education in Human Values at a master trainer’s awareness workshop organized by Sri Sathya Sai Baba Seva Organisation at Hans Raj Public School here.

A large number of teachers, who attended the workshop for master trainers, volunteered to guide others thus in helping sensitize the teaching community to inculcate human values amongst students.

While drawing a roadmap for education in human values, it was decided that these senior teachers who would function as master trainers would assemble in a school once a month to learn how to train other teachers in human values to make this a movement to instil values among the students. Narrating from their experiences, the teachers assembled here blamed the western influence, excessive time spent before the television sets for the growing cult of violence, intolerance and disrespect for elders amongst the children.

In his inaugural address, HUDA administrator AK Yadav said that a teacher was cut for a far bigger role in society as he was a role model not only for the students but for society as a whole. He said that teachers had to be first ‘‘acharyas’’ meaning thereby that they had to first practice values, live by them before asking their students to follow.

They had to be embodiments of virtues before trying to instil these in their students. Prominent among those who interacted with the master trainers included, BB Gupta, principal, DC Model School, who spoke on ‘role play’. Gupta felt that the education system should be such that it prepares us to handle given situations dexterously.

Sangeeta Bhatnagar played a number of ‘value games’ to show how students could be taught human values during play. Prof RP Kapoor from Kurukshetra University said human values could be taught even while teaching subjects like physics, chemistry or mathematics.

Times Of India Reference

Am I Not Your Father?

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Am I Not Your Father?
Experience from the garden of Love

There was one classmate of mine whose father died during his childhood itself. Swami had told his mother that He would look after the boy and his elder brother, who was and is still working at Parthi. He then called this classmate of mine and told him: “From now, I am your father. If you need anything, you should ask me and not trouble your brother or mother.”

A few days passed after the first semester of our first year was over. Most of the students were going home and my classmate too wanted to go and see his mother. But he did not have money for the ticket. He asked his elder brother who too expressed his inability to spare any money at that point of time. The boy was distressed, but did not tell anyone. Even we could see that he was slowly getting withdrawn in the room (he was my roommate too.).

In those days, Swami would call all the students to sit right from the bhajan door once bhajans started. Swami would keep moving in and out of the bhajan hall on several rounds of darshan.

One such day, He had just come and sat down on the throne and was looking at us as we rushed to sit from the front. He then suddenly got up and went into the interview room door. He then signaled to my classmate to follow Him. When my classmate came out 5 minutes later, he was weeping. Later on in the room, he told us what happened.

Swami had called him inside and asked him: “I told you that if you need anything you should ask me. Why did you go and trouble your brother? I know you want to go home and see your mother. You should have asked me. Am I not your father? Why do you then hesitate to ask me what you want?” He then gave him money for the ticket and spending and then told him to go and enjoy his holidays.

And the surprising thing was, my classmate never told anyone about what was eating him from within. Swami just knew!

-Related by a Sai student


Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009

Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox
by Holly Hartman

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

An Obstinate Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Walt Disney, and Anthony Hopkins were all born in the year of the ox.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.

The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

Chinese New Year Ox Symbol