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Monday, 11 February 2013

Why I like Chinese New Year

Yesterday marked the beginning of a 14 day festival for the Chinese New Year of the Snake. Without labouring on the origins or traditions of this colourful and significant celebration which I've been fortunate to know since childhood, here are a couple of reasons why I like it:
  • It's a chance to restart 2013. If the first couple of months or so haven't quite panned out expectation-wise, no matter. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, this is when it really all kicks into gear.
  • It's cool labelling each new year with a symbolic zodiac animal. This is the Year of the Snake (or Black Snake).
  • Meticulous, agile and able; usually gets on with everyone, but often quick tempered. These are snake attributes which quite frankly apply to this little black rooster too. None-the-less I am hoping to apply some sophisticated, silky and smart snake-ness to my writing world this year.
  • I love stuffing my self with Chinese delicacies. I don't follow the traditional fare eaten symbolically on certain days of the celebration, just use it more of an excuse to tantalise my tastebuds.Yum Cha was my indulgence this year.
  • I enjoy watching bald, balloon-bellied buffoons (the equivocal of rodeo clowns) whip crowds up into comic frenzy.
  • I get to stroke a real lion. Well, real Chinese lion at least, because they really do exist, at least in jaw-dropping Lion Dances they do.
  • And finally, thanks to the bazillion bursting firecrackers, the explosive rhythm of drums and symbols (to scare the man-eating mythical creature Nian away) and the flashy acrobatics of those adorable lions, there is zero chance of the usual melancholic air that a passing year can bring, ruining the event with its pensive odour. The Chinese are just too centred on talk of future success, money, and better times to dwell on what is left behind like old dust behind the door.
So, Gong Xi Fa Chai - Congratulations and Success to you and whatever you have planned to achieve in 2013.