Gung Hay Fat Choy – Happy Chinese New Year!! It’s the year of the Ram!!!
Similar to the other traditional New Year’s Day celebration, it’s a time for Chinese families to come together and celebrate a new year. Large dinners are usually the norm along with family time, laughter, and maybe a friendly game of mahjong. The red envelopes are handed out to the children by the married adults or the parents. Money can be found in these envelopes and though it’s not enough to get one rich, it is fun money nevertheless.
Of course the Chinese calendar has its own lunar schedule which moves to a different date each year so unless you have an actual Chinese calendar, you really won’t know the date on the American calendar. The celebration lasts two full weeks and in many cities where a Chinatown exists, the annual Chinese New Year parade occurs with lots of firecrackers, lion dances, marching bands, martial arts demonstrations, the eight immortals, the parading of a future bride and groom, and of course, the serpentine dragon at the end. Different cities will hosts different fillers but the main point is the celebration of the Chinese culture.
The memories of loved ones who have gone before us are hard to ignore as well. Family traditions that have occurred for many years are replaced with new ones. When my father passed away ten years ago to cancer, my sister-in-law and brother were expecting their second child. My dad was hoping for the family’s first granddaughter and just days before his passing, he had asked my brother if he would finally be getting his granddaughter. My brother said “yes” which gave my father to peace he wanted before releasing his spirit. The family blessing arrived a few months later as we welcomed the family’s first (and only) granddaughter – my brother and his wife didn’t want to know the gender of their second child but to put my father’s mind at peace, my brother told our dad that it would be a girl. There was a fifty-percent certainty either way.
As they say, when one passes away, another is born into the family. My niece will be ten this year and I wonder if she knows that her grandpa was very pleased that she was born into the family – don’t get me wrong, he loved all of his grandsons too! He was a good father and a better grandpa!
Gung Hay Fat Choy Dad!!!