I Am Chinese, Am I Not?
It’s funny how a tradition can last longer than you can ever imagine. Especially Chinese’s. I don’t know why but Chinese people seem to have more traditions than the rest of the world. And along with traditions, there come some rules that you have to do, even though you don’t like them and swear to God that you will never do these silly irrational things again to your kids. End the traditions. ASAP.
Anyway in the end of the day you will still accept them as a tiny part of who you are and defend it with all (well, maybe just half) of your guts. Now, in the spirit of Chinese New Year (yes, we have another new year to celebrate), I am going to tell you some traditions that I have to follow in my family. They’re very Chinese New Year-y and filled with myths, which sometimes can be a bad bedtime story for children.
First, let me ask you a question: Why Chinese people celebrate (another) New Year?
My mom told me once when I was just a young boy this simple easy-to-remember folklore.
Once upon a time in China (probably), news about doomsday was spreading quickly in the crowd. People were afraid and decided to held a massive dinner in order to celebrate the end of days (why didn’t they build something good to shield themselves? They were Chinese for God’s sake!) They waited all day with such fear until the night finally came, but nothing happened. The sun suddenly rose once again, the birds were singing happily, and the river tasted as sweet as usual. Then, they realized the doomsday news was a hoax (huff, internet!) They made it through the night! In order to celebrate the new day, they ate all the foods they had prepared and sang merrily. They called it ‘New Year’ and live happily ever after (before the British came by and China fell into bloody civil war that lasted for years. I haven’t even mentioned World War eras).
Of course the story got mixed up here and there and you will definitely find another version of Chinese New Year, if you are willing to do some researches. But hey… who is the owner of this blog? That should answer all your doubts right away.
Second question: What do you have to do before Chinese New Year?
A LOT OF THINGS.
First of all, you NEED to have a haircut, even if you don’t have anything left on top of your head. It symbolizes cutting away bad luck and trust me, you need all luck you can get because after that… YOU NEED TO PREPARE A LOT OF FOODS.
Yes, your long-lost family members are coming to your home sweet home and they need to be served like kings and queens. Get your apron ready girls.
After cooking tons of pig meats (yes, pig or duck is the best choice), you also have to clean your home. Every inch of it. Almost the same with cutting your hair, cleaning your home means dusting away bad luck and let the fortune goddess in. Hopefully, she/he will feel comfortable in your clean home and will give you tons of fortunes as thank-you-for-letting-me-crash-by gift.
Finally: What do you have to do during Chinese New Year?
For adults: time to give money to your kids. For kids: time to get some extra cashes from your aunts/uncles/grandparents etc. It’s like Christmas, but you can’t give stuff to your kids. You can only give them money. Wow, I am sure Chinese people, who invented this tradition, must be very clever.
But wait! You can’t give money, if you aren’t married yet or your ‘thread of love’ will be very thin. In short, don’t give money, if you don’t want to be single FOREVER. Ultimate rule.
Well, I guess those are the questions I can definitely answers. There are other tinier things you have to do of course. Like preparing oranges, apples, peaches, and other ‘red-colored’ fruits. Make some Chinese cupcakes. Make some sweets. Make other things you will only eat one and the rest goes to somewhere dark, smelly and nasty in the kitchen. Those kind of stuffs.
Anyway, just be grateful and take it easy people. We love Chinese New Year!