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The woman who helped usher the interior design industry into full flower in the United States was prolific in putting out ideas that will help freshen up today's interior design business. Look at our latest Designer Monthly, Interior Design: Look Forward by Looking Back to Dorothy Draper.

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2013 Chinese New Year

(Water Snake)

CHINESE NEW YEAR for 2013 is the Year of the Black Water Snake and lands on the new moon of February 10 in the U.S. The Chinese New Year is a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity and to eliminate negative chi from the past. It is said a snake is silent and still and may lie coiled and motionless for a very long time. But when it is ready, it strikes.

The Year of the Snake is a time of powerful undercurrents and far reaching efforts. At this time, dramatic history-altering events can happen. The last time the year of the snake occurred, the attack on the NY World Trade Center and Pentagon happened. It is likely in 2013 that powerful forces will emerge and some who are repressed will rise up against authority.

Landmark agreements can also occur, like when Nelson Mandela met President Botha, which led to the end of white rule in South Africa. Snake years also favor innovation. It was the year when Apple introduced the Ipod.

The snake year is when DNA was discovered. There will be considerable emphasis on humanitarian and environmental issues. The arts and culture will thrive and major events and exhibitions will make various art forms more accessible.

For the individual, the snake year offers a lot of potential. It favors learning and personal growth and taking up new skills. It is a year of action and many of us will be happy with the actions we take. The Chinese have the saying, “If you have foresight you are blessed, but if you have insight, you are a thousand times blessed.”

Legend of Chinese New Year: The phrase “Kung Hei Fat Choi,” which roughly translates as “blessings for wealth,” is a common greeting for this day in particular. No one is quite sure exactly when or where the Chinese New Year festival originated. Legend has it that once upon a time, there was a monster called Nian that attacked Chinese villages every spring, eating anything that came its way – people, animals, plants and the odd building. One spring, villagers hung red paper on their doors and threw bamboo on a fire when Nian arrived. The monster was so startled by the bright colors and loud crackling noise of the burning bamboo that it turned and fled. Today the word “nian” is the Chinese word for year.

Since that day, Chinese people hang red paper signs and lanterns outside their homes and enjoy making loud noises on New Year’s Eve. Firecrackers replaced bamboo after gunpowder was invented and the main idea today is the louder and bigger, the better.

In the days leading up to the Festival, every household gets a thorough cleanse since sweeping on New Year’s Day itself might sweep away the year’s good fortune. Breaking dishes or using sharp objects is also seen as potentially unlucky. Bad luck, or huigi has a tendency to build up in the corners. Old huigi can really bring down the party. Plus, only when the house is spic and span can the ancestors and deities be properly honored. Three days before the big celebration, families bust out the brooms and dustpans and give their homes a thorough cleaning.

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