Tagged zodiac

saddle up for the year of the horse

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2014 is off to a start, and at the end of the month, we will welcome the Year of the Horse (马年 ma nian). In the Chinese Zodiac cycle, the Horse is full of energy and ready to go, making this new year an auspicious time to travel. And what better place to see this Year of the Horse than the Middle Kingdom?

That’s why we’re happy to announce the release of China Tea Leaves 西安 Xi’an on iBooks this Chinese New Year. Xi’an is one of the four ancient capitals of China, home to the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, and the center of a region with a history as fascinating and complex as ancient Rome.

We’ll be exploring this city’s treasures in the few weeks leading up to Chinese New Year on January 31, so check back often for tidbits about Xi’an’s dynastic past, its rich cultural crossroads, and the best dishes in Xi’an worth crossing a continent for.

Kick off your new year and travel the world with China Tea Leaves! Fully interactive and illustrated, with vivid cultural insights and locations hand-picked by China-based expats, our guides share the rich history and traditions of this amazing place.

where to say goodbye to the year of the snake

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On January 30 we will say goodbye to the Year of the Snake, and welcome the Year of the Horse. Snakes in China have a bit of a bad reputation—a lowly creature, overshadowed by its popular relative, the Dragon. But a few snakes are also some of the most intriguing characters in Chinese folklore. Here are some special places in China to ring out the old year and celebrate these Snakes one last time.

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One beloved snake is Lady White Snake (白娘子 bai niangzi) or Bai Suzhen (白素贞), the heroine of one of the most famous legends in China. Her story takes place around the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Visit the Broken Bridge, where she first met her love, Xu Xian, and climb the Leifeng Pagoda, where legend holds she is trapped for eternity.

To read more about the visions of West Lake and the full story of Bai Suzhen, download China Tea Leaves 杭州 Hangzhou today!

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Another interesting snake in Chinese culture is Nüwa, who was the daughter of the Jade Emperor and in some ancient myths created animals and humans from clay. She and her husband Fuxi were both snakes, as shown in this panel from the Shaanxi History Museum in Xi’an. A local legend says that Lishan, or Black Horse Mountain near the site of the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, was where Nüwa repaired the Wall of Heaven after a flood caused by a quarrel between the gods.

Check back soon as we get ready to welcome the Year of the Horse, and find out more about our upcoming release of China Tea Leaves 西安 Xi’an!