Magens Bay --San Thomas

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lunar New Year ….

Some of us have two New Years to keep track of. The official New Year based on the Gregorian calendar which we all celebrate and set our New Year resolutions. Then there is this Lunar New year where the calendar count was based on the lunar calendar.

Wait … how do we keep track of? Well! We don’t. We simply follow the Gregorian calendar for our daily life and the Lunar Calendar is more like a symbolic calendar for most of us, Chinese descendents, from over the world regardless of the origin of our ancestors.

According to the legend, there was this creature called, “Nien,” where it was so destructive and harmful to the people. So, the people collectively worked together and came out with the idea on how to deal with this destructive creature. It was said that this creature was afraid of red color, loud noises and the light of fire.  And together, they drove this creature away and ever since they celebrate the days of triumph by having red colors (wearing red clothes, and/or putting up red-paper couplets,) and perhaps crack those fire crackers. I remember cracking those fire crackers in my childhood. That was fun memory.

Today, we celebrate the Lunar New Year eve like we would celebrate Xmas eve by having dinner with our family and close relatives. In some places, family members who live away from home will make a trip back home and share a feast together.  Red envelopes containing lucky money would be handed-out to the elders and children symbolize good luck and long life.

During my childhood, Lunar New Year is a huge thing for us. We got to wear new dress (red, of course!) and my parents would give us some jewelries to go with that. And more importantly, the red envelopes. Yes, those lucky money. We can't wait to visit our grand parents and aunts and uncles. Are we that excited to see them? Guess again ... yeah .. yeah ... back to the lucky money. (Just like those Xmas presents ...) For the adults, it was more like taking time to visit families and relatives as well as friends.. Time for them to catch up after being apart for nearly a year and buried in their busy lives. Even today, this tradition is being practice by my parent, relatives and friends oversea.We also take time to visit our friends on the 2nd day of the new year. Paying our respect and visit while having fun chatting away. There is this unwritten 'open invitation,' where friends can just dropped by without having to call ahead. This is also the time where most women show off their baking skills. A lot of delicious pastries, cakes even dishes.

Unfortunately, my kids growing up knowing nothing much about this tradition. Nevertheless, family gathering signify a great deal for us. And that tradition is for us to keep. Don't forget those lucky money! Btw., at the end of first day of New Year, we (kids, of course!) gathered around and counted our lucky money. Just like counting candies in the Halloween.

I am not sure how many Lunar New Year there had been ever since … but I am grateful that I had quite a feast last night with some of my siblings, my own family and friends. Happy Lunar New Year for those who observe it. Here by I am wishing this dragon year will bring prosperous, many happy return and good health to you and your family.

Until next stop,
Journey of Life

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