We are (well mom is ) busy preparing for the most elaborate, colorful, and important of all the traditional Chinese festivals. The Chinese New Year is celebrated annually on the first day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar.
This year's celebration falls on Sunday, February 14th. Similar to the Western New Year, Chinese New Year symbolizes turning over a new leaf and starting anew. In the Far East, it is also the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Socially, it is a time for family reunions and gatherings with family and friends.
On New Years Day, children are given red Lai-See envelopes, with good luck money wrapped in little red envelopes.
We are making a game out of our red envelopes. I have 3 for each child- and Juan and I will hide them all over the house. The kids will than find a # 1 each and #2 , #3 and then we have 3 bonus ones with a bit more money in them- who ever finds them, gets them!! Having 7 kiddos- the $'s in each envelope amounts to coins from the coin jar- but lots of fun doing this.
In China new clothes will be worn - preferably in red. We have found red shirts for all of us to wear to church tomorrow. Friends and family will exchange "Gung Hey Fat Choy" greetings (meaning "Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth").
The kids have been practicing how to say "Gung Hey Fat Choy"-- and it seems to always come out as "Bring it on fat man" that was TOO funny and the kids have kind of made it a saying around our house-- could be worse, I guess......
In China parades will be held and lanterns will be carried. Dragons made of bamboo, silk and paper will stretch for a hundred feet and dance in the streets. Schools and business will close for the week long celebration.
Preparations begin early and on the 20th day of the Twelfth Moon, the Chinese set aside the day for the annual "sweeping of the grounds". Every corner of the house must be swept and cleaned in preparation for the new year. Spring Couplets (short poems written in classical Chinese) are put on the walls or on the sides of the gateways. In addition, symbolic flowers and fruits are used to decorate homes and businesses alike.
Tangerines are symbolic of good luck as the word for tangerine has the same sound as "luck" in Chinese. And fruit from a tree with leaves is best as the leaves symbolize longevity. WE have a bag of tangerines to help with our celebration.
We will order Chinese food for our main meal, (a big treat!) The kids are excitedly waiting for tomorrow.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation,
the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103 (NIV)