Happy New Year. Today is the Chinese Lunar Year and it is the year of the rat. This is probably the most important holiday for Chinese people. I have fond memories of eating New Year's sweets and receiving red envelopes (hong bao or lai see) filled with money. Every year, my dad makes traditional sweet rice cake with red dates on top. On the eve of Chinese New Year, you're supposed to have a huge dinner (the usual fare is noodles, dumplings, mushrooms, chicken, duck, fish, pork...but NO beef. Some families even eat all vegetarian fare.) I made myself a huge bowl of noodles last night (noodles signify longevity), and I'm wearing a red coat today and my shoes that were given to me by my students when I was living in China. Xinnian Kuai Le, Gung Hay Fat Choy...Happy New year. By the way, props to Google for having a "Year of the Rat" tribute on their homepage.