Happy Chinese New Year!
I have a confession to make: I miss China.
Thinking about CNY traditions like eating dumplings, wearing red underwear, and explosive fireworks makes my insides twinge with a bit of homesickness. But alas - I am celebrating with the greatest New Year tradition of all - time with family.
My parents obliged my need for some Asian fare and took me to a local Asian restaurant that is so so good. My mom even used chopsticks like an old pro. Yum. Then my sister arrived home from college for the weekend and all was well. We are all together again. (so rare).
My first CNY (year of the ox) I was in Beijing with my 2 best traveling partners running the streets lighting sparklers and getting chased by the police. We ate Peking duck and were frightened by the close proximity of firecrackers everywhere.
My second CNY (year of the tiger) I was in Thailand on a bus from Phuket to Bangkok. And it was also Valentine's Day.
My third CNY (year of the rabbit) I am home with family in America. There is a Chinese "fu" symbol for luck on our front door and I am taking little rabbit wall decorations to my mom's 3rd grade class. You know, teach that globalization.
According to the Chinese zodiac, the year of the Rabbit falls on 2011, 1999, 1887, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939. (there are 12 animals in the zodiac, so every 12 years the animal reappears).
Anyone born in an rabbit year must wear red underwear (or red in general) to ward off bad luck every day of that year. Leading up to the big day, you can find red underwear, bras, and socks on sale on the street, in markets, and even in grocery stores.
Chinese New Year is the world's largest migration of people. And it happens yearly. Parts of me are very glad I am not home, because everything in town literally shuts down. Everyone goes home. You have to stock up on supplies like drinking water and food because there is nowhere to go. It is eerily quiet (except for the fireworks) - no horns honking, no taxis, no military planes flying overhead.
Here are some photos from CNY Beijing 2009 year of the ox:
Put on your red undies, eat some dumplings, and hug your family - it's Chinese New Year!
walk slow. xoxo.