It’s time to celebrate the year of the Rabbit…Happy Chinese New Year! You know what’s great about growing up as a little girl in a Chinese household in the American culture (besides confusing)? It was having 2 new years to celebrate. The gatherings with family and friends, the feasts that fed my pop belly, and the money that filled the red envelopes I got. Embarrassingly though, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which foods symbolized what nor any traditions you’re suppose to do; partly because my parents were not traditional in that sense nor did we grow up with any superstitious beliefs. As a little girl, the only superstition associated with the new year was when my mom told me not to wash my hair on the eve of the holiday or else I’d wash off all my good luck for the year. Well, that scared me…and just to make sure I’d keep all my luck, I didn’t wash my hair that entire week.
Five houses down from us, lived my childhood friend Chris. She had a completely different experience with Chinese New Year, where it seemed to take up an entire week of preparation and celebrations that lasted for almost 2 weeks. She’d ask me, “what kind of shoes did you get?” and I’d say, “Shoes?! You got new shoes?!” And nonchalantly, she’d say, “Yeah, you’re suppose to get new shoes and wear them on New Year’s day.” I’d go over to her house and she’d have little plates filled with candy, fruits, and other goodies strewn around the house. I was baffled yet fascinated and envied the elaborate festivities she and her family experienced.
Sleeping with a red envelope underneath my pillow and having a tangerine sit next to my bed was as elaborate as it got for me…but much appreciated. New shoes, candy, red envelopes aside, what it boils down to as with any thing else in life, it’s spending time with the ones you love. Washing my hair a thousand times on new year’s eve couldn’t wash off all the luck I’ve had so far in this lifetime with the love I’ve been surrounded with by family, friends, teachers, and students.
Here’s to wishing you and your loved ones a healthy, happy, and prosperous wascally new year!