Jan 22

Gung Hey Fat Choy

Posted by Nanc

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Happy Chinese New Year! Wishing you prosperity and wealth (gung hey fat choy).


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It’s the year of the Green Tree Monkey (seems kind of specific, huh?) and I’m wishing you all good luck. I enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations more than the countdown on New Year’s Eve. I think it’s because it focuses less on getting shit-faced drunk and more on what a new year should be about. (I’m not diss’ing the drunkenness. Trust me, I’ve celebrated many a new year in this fashion – or so I’ve been told afterwards.)

But the symbolism and festivities of the Chinese New Year call to my sense of tradition. (And I’m a sucker for any ethnic traditions that I can mooch.) The wishing for prosperity, health, luck, love and money using symbols, colors and superstitions feed my soul. We’ve lost the traditions of my ancestors, so why not pick up some new ones that I like. (Hey, we’re all Irish on St. Patty’s day, right?)

One of my fondest Chinese New Year memories was a few years ago. A group of us friends went to our local Chinese restaurant that celebrates the holiday. They have karate and noodle-making demonstrations, as well as drums and -the best- the lion dancers.

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Tradition is to place a dollar into a small, red envelope and then “feed” this to the lion for good luck. We all nominated my then roommate “S” for the job and she seemed eager. Well, as the lion’s progression moves closer, “S” is starting to get nervous. The crowds of tables around us are cheering and clapping to the beat of the drums – they’re all having loads of fun. “S” is looking a bit pale in the face. I don’t know if it was too much enthusiasm and gusto in the lion’s gait, or if the costume was too extravagant and lavish. (“S” is a renowned prudent and thrifty gal. Remind me to tell you the brie story one day.) “S” is seriously freaking out, and only with the help of a friend (the rest of us are laughing too hard to do much other than wet ourselves) “S” throws the envelopes at the approximate location of the lion’s maw and then runs away and hides. he he he

Things calm down and “S” returns to the table. We continue dining and enjoying ourselves. (Yes, even “S”.)

This year a different group of friends will be going out in a different city. There’s no lion dancers or drums this time. (I can’t believe it, but no one in this town is celebrating Chinese New Year, ‘cept one tiny museum at noon.) So we’ll make our own fun, much like we make our own luck.

Gung Hey Fat Choy

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