We had our celebration yesterday with my family enjoying more Hot Pot and dessert. My favorite thing about the New Year is simply being surrounded by family… talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Of course, any excuse to engage in a total gorgefest is also a major bonus.
Traditionally, children and the younger generation family members will wish the elders a year of good health and fortune. This is done with a bow or a low bow on your knees (a deep sign of respect). Then, the elders will give the children a lucky red envelope filled with money. The best part of the day is collecting your red envelopes!
You’ve probably seen pictures of a Chinese New Year parade with dragons, lion dancers, and firecrackers. We don’t really get out to see these as they’re usually in large cities or in Chinatown. But if you ever have the chance, it’s an entertaining experience and fun for the kids. You can’t help but move along to the rhythmic beat of drums and fast-moving feet of the dancers.
The Asian markets were abuzz this weekend, bustling with energy and zealous children running down the aisles carrying gold-wrapped candy (shaped like ancient Chinese money). Mothers were everywhere filling their carts with bundles of fresh vegetables and live fish. Rows and rows of bulgy-eyed fish lay chilled behind glass in preparation for some delicious meal to come. Shrimp, crab, lobsters and other sea crawlers swim along in large glass tanks that line the walls. And no New Years feast would be complete without buns and desserts made with sweet, gooey red bean. There’s sure to be boisterous conversations layered one upon the other. My family is no exception, and we can clamor on louder than a Dim Sum on Sunday.
Even though I prepared the Hot Pot meal yesterday with my sister and cousin, I was mostly anticipating our Tuesday night dinner to be prepared by my mother. My mom is a magnificent cook. She can spin out a healthy, delicious, colorful 1o dish meal in the time it takes me get Noob Baby to eat one measly jar of baby food.
May your 2009 be filled with feasts of love, good health, and fortune… this year of the Ox. Happy New Year! Xin Nian Kuai Le (pronounced Shing Nien Kwhy Luh in Mandarin)