Today is Chinese new year according to the lunar-solar calender. It is the year of the rabbit. People who are born in the year of the rabbit are talented, ambitious and articulate according to the Chinese calender in my parents’ kitchen. Which does describe my father and sister. 🙂
For those of you not familiar with the celebrations of Chinese New Year, it’s usually a 15 day celebration of food, family and visiting friends. There are usually parades and the dancing lions along the streets of Chinatown or Chinese malls. The dancing lions visits the storefronts (with a parade of drums and people), and owners usually give the lion lettuce and money for good luck and prosperity in the new year.
When my sisters and I were little, we watched VHS karaoke of Chinese new year songs and sang along. We also got to wear new clothes and collect red pockets from our elders. Red pockets are little red envelope with money inside. When I was little, we usually get $5 from each red pocket, but now (due to inflation?), we get $10 per red pocket. As long as one is unmarried, one can keep collecting red pockets from all their elders. After one is married, they need to start giving red pockets.
My family always gets together every year to eat, drink, be merry and of course, gift red pockets. My mom and aunts usually make special dishes, and my favourite part is to see all my cousins and catch up.
My parents’ taught me two phrases to say to my elders, depending on how old they are.
For grandparents and more elderly relatives, say, “Happy new year, and wishing you good health.”
For aunts and uncles who are young and still working, say, “Happy new year, wishing you prosperity and luck.”
So, to all my readers, Happy Chinese New Year. May this year bring you good health and prosperity. And if you have a Chinatown near you, check it out!
Photo source: http://www.pollsb.com/polls/p6198-chinese_new_year