Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Year of the Rat: A time of renewal

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...

/Peace, love and prosperity for all of you in the coming new year.


Freddie said...

What an awesome idea!!!

My co-workers and I discuss this every year. See, we have an office in China and every year we see notices in our office bulletins about how their office is closed for like 3 months (ok, maybe that's a tiny exaggeration) every year for the New Year. We're always so jealous.

Best wishes to you and your family for the coming year.

Kat said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Chinese or otherwise! LOL

LeeAnn said...

Goy He Fat Choy.

Or however you spell it.

Mr. Bud said...

happy new year bud. just arrived. baths, showers... becomming socially acceptible again. packing packs, lunches etc. little reading to do here!! be good.
just checking in..

The Pirate said...

I had to send an email to my manager onshore, informing him of all the trouble I'm having with this prospect. He too, thinks it's a great idea.

Kat/Leann- Kung hei fat choy!! (cantonese), or
shin yeng kwi leh!! (Mandarin) Mandarin is such a smoothly flowing language, as opposed to Cantonese, which has always sounded harsh and staccato to me. I used to work in a Chinese joint as a kid...

Mr. Bud-Mr. Bud, Mr.Bud-I'm totally jealous you just now got back from the woods, but you guys needed it, bad. You guys are also welcome to participate in the Lantern Fest