Yesterday, I decided to completely ignore what most of you considered to be a holiday. After a rough, 16-hr day, I decided to recognize and celebrate the Chinese New Year, instead. The year 4706-Year of the Rat, promises to be a better one for me, a year of renewal and prosperity. I'm looking forward to celebrating the new year beginning February 7th, AND I'll be celebrating at home, with my family.
I suppose in keeping with Chinese New Year tradition, we'll light off fireworks and have a ceremony to honor Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and our ancestors. After the "Sacrifice to the Ancestors" ritual, we'll gather around the table for a traditional "weilu", or "surrounding the stove" feast.
In keeping with tradition, we'll have 15 more days of holiday decorations; doors and walls festooned with poetic couplets and hand-written happy wishes to each other for new year. Blooming flowers, bamboo and pine sprigs in vases. Platters of oranges and plum blossoms. All the emblems of a reawakening of nature.
The decorations will stay up for the 15 day celebration, lasting from the first full moon of the year, until the second. It will be a glorious two weeks, honoring in turn, the gods of Heaven and Earth, our ancestors, our In-Laws (Oy! Busia!), and on the fifth day, called "Poo Woo", honoring the God of Wealth(everyone's a capitalist at heart, aren't they?).
Following that are days celebrating friends and family, the farmer's yield, gifts to the Jade God and alternating days of rich and simple, or lean foods. The 14th day is spent in preparation for the Lantern Festival, celebrated on the 15th night.
I look forward to the new year and all it's pomp and circumstance, it's feasts and rituals and the silent moments in between. It should be a glorious and peaceful time for all. I hope PW remembers to get the rice paper for the Lanterns, though...