Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy New Year (of the Ox!)

Time flies - it's been almost 3 years since my first trip to China and exposure to this most intricate of cultures. And now that I am part of a Chinese family thanks to my wife, I get to join in all of the culture's beautiful celebrations moving forward. This starts with the Chinese New Year, or more broadly the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated all across Asia as the true beginning of the year. It is a time for crazy abundance of firecrackers and the sorts of pyrotechnic displays that would put American Independence Day displays to shame. It is a time for red envelopes and monetary gifts to make the children squeal with glee over the untold riches of candies and toys that those yuan can buy. It is a time for ritual and symbolism regarding fortune, health, and happiness that certain traditions and foods can bring. Above all, it is a time for the greatest migration on the planet, where hundreds of millions of Chinese return home to their families all over the mainland, celebrating together all that the New Year might bring.

This year is the year of the Ox. Although I will miss the in-laws, who have joined that immense migration and are back in Hubei province enjoying the festivities, I will mark new celebrations with Wendy at our home stateside. And if I use the celebrations for Inauguration Day last week as a measuring stick for this year's fortunes, I will be pleasantly surprised with the result. I should hope so, because the news surrounding the economy and general state of the world is not as uplifting and encouraging...
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