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Oodles of Sellwood kids celebrate Chinese New Year

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Helped by the kids, this colorful Chinese Dragon comes to life, celebrating the Lunar New Year on the sidewalk in front of 'Oodles 4 Kids', on S.E. 13th Avenue in Sellwood. The proprietor of a Sellwood children’s store that opened last September, “Oodles 4 Kids” on S.E. 13th Avenue, told THE BEE that she has been looking forward to celebrating the Lunar New Year since she opened her unique toy store business.

“We’re introducing children to the culture and heritage that I grew up with in Southern California,” explained Carolyn Miye, as kids and parents swirled around the store. “Today, we’re celebrating Chinese New Year.”

Being half Chinese and half Japanese, Miye remarked that she’d learned important cultural traditions of both cultures. “The Japanese celebrate the New Year on January 1; Chinese and Vietnamese celebrate the New Year according to their lunar calendar. This year, it’s today – February 10.”

The gifts of “lucky money” – gold-foil-covered chocolate coins – as well as fortune cookies and crafts were a big hit. But, the real fun began when The Olde World Puppet Theatre’s crew coached kids through performing with an 11-foot-long dragon out on the 13th Avenue sidewalk.

“Chinese dragons are little different from the European ones,” explained puppeteer Steven Overton. “It is made up with the head of a camel, the horns of the deer, the claws of an eagle, the belly of an oyster, and the whiskers of the catfish!”

The dragon is “entranced” by, and follows around, the “pearl of wisdom” that leads the procession. “We’re teaching the kids how to do four basic movements that one would see in any parade with the very big Chinese dragons.”

Big and small, the kids looked delighted as they made the Chinese Dragon come to life. This year, the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake – was well-celebrated in Sellwood.