Annie Bananie en Europe

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Tag Archives: new year

My stories 02: Chinese New Year

It is no surprise that the Lunar New Year is the most important event of the year for the Chinese, and growing up in a Chinese family, we observe it every year. We didn’t go all out with the rituals and celebrations, which themselves vary among regions across China. For us, it’s usually just a simple meal with the immediate family. The last time I spent Chinese New Year at home was in 2014, and my dad cooked a huge New Year’s Eve meal. I remember, though, that my mom unfortunately had to work that evening and was absent, so it was a dinner for three – my dad, my sister, and me. This year, however, I was finally able to spend New Year’s Eve with the entire family, after five years.

During the Chinese New Year celebrations, elders are obliged by cultural norms to give youngsters red pockets containing lucky money, or “lai-see” in Cantonese. When I was a kid, I would receive lai-see from many relatives and friends of my parents. What did I do with the money? Well, I’d be lucky if I knew how much money was in the lai-see. Why is that? Well, my mom (and many Chinese moms do the same) would claim that I was too young to spend money anyway, so she would “save up the money” for my future. After that, I would never find out the whereabouts of the lai-see. Another thing is that only married people are expected to give out lai-see – I think this is a Cantonese norm, but I’m not 100% sure. So, even though I’m in my 30s, I still receive lai-see from my relatives and am not condemned if I don’t “return the favour” by similarly handing out lai-see to their kids. I guess that’s another reason not to get married yet…

And then there are firecrackers. Perhaps it’s an irrational fear, but I’m deathly afraid of sudden, loud noises – popping balloons, thunder, and firecrackers. I can’t recall what prompted this fear in me, but I do remember shivering and hiding in the house when the firecrackers were lit in my childhood days. Nowadays, firecrackers are prohibited in many cities in China, but are still a widespread form of celebration in the countryside. It does seem like traditional Chinese heritage is being compromised by the diminishing popularity of firecrackers, but at least it effectively alleviated my pain and suffering from the deafening noises that remain in my memories.

Red pockets containing lucky money, given out during Chinese New Year.

A short update on Chinese New Year

I have disappeared into the abyss…no not really. I’ve been travelling in Asia since the beginning of December, as I’ve mentioned in this post. Surprisingly the plan has been followed mostly successfully and I’ve dropped by most of the cities that I had wanted to visit, except for Lanzhou.

I intended to blog during the travel period but I guess I had underestimated how packed my schedule would be and how busy/tired I would be. But I will return soon, I promise!

Today is Chinese New Year and I would like to wish everyone (who celebrates it) a very happy Spring Festival (another term for Chinese New Year) and peace and health in the upcoming year! I will continue to post updates after I return to Canada, which is in 10 days. Ciao for now!

Chinese New Year lanterns in the central commercial area of Qingyuan, one hour north of Guangzhou (my hometown) in the Guangdong province of China.

New year with GCC

Happy new year to everyone who follows the lunar calendar! It’s a Chinese tradition to gather with friends and family on new year’s eve while making dumplings, watching China’s annual new year TV event broadcasted live, and just enjoying each other’s presence. This year, I had a nice gathering with the Groupe Chrétien Chinois de Bordeaux at the Cenon church where we did all of the above! Even though we’re away from home, in Christ we’re brought close together as a family and we share joy and love as brothers and sister 🙂 And of course, Penguin said, “We all know the purpose of new year’s celebrations is to eat lots and lots of good food!” Hey, who could say she was wrong? 😉

Mmm, dumplings. Back home in Toronto, my mom makes them regularly and puts them in the freezer so that we can eat them whenever we want, but apparently in other parts of China, people only eat dumplings for special occasions like the new year. My favourite type of stuffing has got to be pork and chives. Nothing has ever tasted better than the taste of home!

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Seven hours till the beginning of my new year

The world didn’t end in 2012.

I was going to write about my year-end trip to north-western France, but that can wait. It dawned upon me that on the last day of 2012, I should probably summarize this peculiar year, because too many things have happened, way too many…

I thought 2011 was quite eventful, so at the beginning of the year 2012, I had hoped for a calmer, less eventful year. Well that went right out the window.

Several big events took place in 2012:

  • After being a Christian for more years than I could count, I got baptised on September 8, 2012.
  • My best friend in Canada, Florence, got married on September 15, 2012. I participated in her wedding as her maid of honour.
  • I entered the third and last year of my PhD, passing the midterm confirmation exam on September 28, 2012.
  • I turned quarter-of-a-century old on the same day.

Hmm. Come to think of it, everything seemed to have concentrated around September, which was also the month I went back to Canada. Of course, that doesn’t mean the rest of the months of the year were dull and boring. On the contrary, I travelled to more places than I ever dreamed of, met more people than I thought possible, said goodbye more times than I would have liked, and experienced more of life than I could imagine. And in the midst of joy, sadness, anticipation, disappointment, and all the emotions that were intertwined, I regret nothing.

A photo taken in 2011 by Florence, when we went on our road trip in Tobermory, Canada. This still remains one of my favourite photos taken of me, even though my face can’t be seen. It felt like I was standing at the edge of the world, contemplating the meaning of my existence and the purpose of everything I do.

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