SOCIAL MEDIA

02 March 2015

Chinese New Year 2015

Chinese New Year brings lion dances:





This was actually my very first lion dance. Somehow, I've always missed the rest of the lion dances that my family has stumbled across over the years. I had no idea, that over the course of a lion dance, or at least this one, you can return with a lot of loot: The Lion offered us peanuts in his mouth, and some people scored mandarin oranges, and at the end, lettuce was thrown everywhere. The man in costume accompanying the lions was handing out red packets with instant coffee packets inside, because this particular lion dance was sponsored by a coffee company!

Some of the younger children got pretty nervous when the lion got right up in their faces, and the drums were so loud I spent most of the time covering my ears--with the decibel level thus lowered somewhat, it was a grand experience!

Chinese New Year means the bestowing of lots of traditional snacks (during the month of February, my family tends to have more mandarin oranges and 'love letters' than they know what to do with, which is really saying something, given the large number of mouths to feed). This year was the first year for Angel and I to be giving ang pow, red envelopes filled with cash--traditionally given by older, married people to younger, unmarried people (usually children). We've been qualified for a few years, of course, but this is the first one where we were actually in a land where this tradition is practiced. I asked some friends, and it sounds as if the rule about whether you are supposed to or not supposed to give ang pow to unmarried people older than you is a little hazy...I decided to err on the side of strictness, so all single folks above the age of 23 were out of luck!

Wearing a new outfit on the first day of the New Year is a tradition that we were going to skip entirely, until a friend made a comment that she was looking forward to seeing the girls dressed in their Chinese New Year Outfits, which sent us scurrying to the mall on the eve of the New Year in search of some new clothes (my sisters tend to wear through their clothes on a regular basis, and seem to be in need of new ones every time I visit, so it was timely).

We arrived at the mall on Wednesday at 5:30 to find that most of the mall looked like this:


Apparently, unlike in America, the eve of a major holiday is apparently not spent shopping. It was surreal to see this 7-floor shopping center nearly dead. We did find a few shops still open, and 4 of the girls managed to get 'something new' to wear for the holiday--in our family, that's pretty much how we do traditions, halfway and at the last minute. What could be wrong with that? We find it exciting! Here's Sarah modeling her brand new red dress:


Chinese New Year is a time for visiting family, and holding open houses for friends. We had a very quiet day or two while most of our friends were busy visiting with their extended families, and on the 3rd day of the New Year, we were invited to several home parties and fed large quantities of food.

I didn't get any pictures, but if you're ever in a country that celebrates Chinese New Year, don't be surprised if you hear fireworks every night for a solid two weeks. Neither Angel nor I have ever been opposed to fireworks in the slightest degree--there were even some going off as we were being driven to the airport for our flight back to China, and we considered them a festive finish to our long visit!

20 comments :

  1. Wednesday is the eve of The New Year. the mall was mostly deserted because people were all home dressing up and preparing for the big new year's eve dinner!
    Since small I have regarded the eve as another holiday as well, because it's too important!

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  2. This is so neat!! These pictures are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing with us about the Chinese New Year!! Stopping by from The Peony Project Link Up! So glad that I did!!
    Blessings,
    Rebecca :)
    www.caravansonnet.com

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  3. Gorgeous photos of the lion dance, Rachel!

    Here in Chiang Mai, Chinese NYE was HUGE. We actually tried to get a hotel for the weekend around it, and absolutely everything was completely booked until after! There were plenty of fireworks and festivities here.

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  4. I've seen the lion dance a couple of times as the kung fu school my husband belongs to is showing it every so often during demonstrations. My husband even helped them construct the traditional post thingy. Saturday after NYE we went out to celebrate with said school.

    I can see why the mall would be closed. In Germany, the Eve before Christmas is part of the holiday already and most shops traditionally close around 4 in the afternoon.

    You were lucky with the red dress. It's really cute and suits her.

    Alex

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  5. Thanks for sharing! I never knew much about Chinese New Year. My first graders asked me about it when they saw it on a calendar and I didn't have much to tell them! Now I'll know a little more for next year.

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  6. Looks like a lot of fun! Love Sarah's new outfit!

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  7. Too fun! I've never seen a lion dance up close and personal like that before--looks like you had fun! :)

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  8. How cool, so neat to see different country's and culture's holidays! Your sister looks so cute in her new dress!

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  9. Awwww Sarah's new outfit is adorable on her :) And I love that you were able to participate in what sounds like incredibly festive New Year! One of my best friends is Chinese and had dragons at her wedding. At the end of the night as one of her bridesmaids I received the red envelope. Imagine my surprise to see there was $ inside! Love learning about different cultures and traditions--thanks so much for sharing! XOXO

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  10. It looks like your family had a great time. I've never seen a lion dance :-(

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  11. Its cool to see not every country celebrates holidays with sales at the mall!! I have never celebrated Chinese New Year, but it sounds like a blast:)

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  12. Sarah looks so cute!!!!
    A near-empty mall sounds like the perfect environment for shenanigans! :)

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  13. this is really cool and you got some great pictures, thanks for sharing

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  14. yay! i was hoping you'd share about chinese new year celebrations! absolutely LOVE your little sister's red striped dress-i want one too!

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  15. The Filipino-Chinese community here in the Philippines is also strong, so Chinese New Year can be a big deal too. In some malls, the lions would visit the open stores one by one and well, dance there. Must be to scare off evil spirits?

    Sarah's so pretty!

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  16. Loved your photos! She looks precious in her dress. I love hearing about other cultures and their traditions.

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  17. Was really lovely to hear about your experiences....so glad you managed to find her such a pretty, pretty dress (I'm sure she'll always remember it!)

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  18. That dress is adorable! I love the photos! Looks like that will be something to remember.

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  19. Wow! What amazing pictures! :) This is so neat to read about - I love learning about other cultures. It's so important! I may even share this with my 6th grade class!

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  20. It looks like you all had a great time. Love the pics!

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