Monday, February 11, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

One of my volunteers is from China, and he often acts as both our interpreter and our identifier of unknown Asian vegetables. On Saturday I asked him if he had gone to any New Year's parties and he responded, "No! I don't celebrate Chinese New Year! I am an American!"

At the elementary school I attended, a lion dancing troop came every year to perform in the school yard. All the students sat in a big circle around them while the musicians banged the drums and threw firecrackers, which always startled me. Chinese New Year was a big deal at my school, including making wontons and playing Chinese jump rope where you tried not to get your ankles caught between the bamboo poles when they clacked together. As a neighborhood group we usually went down to Chinatown to watch the parade, too.

As Jon Carroll says in today's column:

As far as I'm concerned, you can't have too many New Year's celebrations.
All the vernal earth-is-not-dead festivals have a similar message, that
everything is renewed and we can start over with untilled soil and unspoiled
memories and make new things grow. We have another chance to get it right, and
there can be no better news.
We used to say, "Today is the first day of the
rest of your life." We could just as well have said, "Tomorrow is New Year's
Day. Clean house! Dress up! Eat special food!" Such a good plan for any day, for
every day. Particularly if yesterday wasn't so good, tomorrow is a very good
time to start a new year. Hell, they have new fiscal years all the time; why not
new personal years?

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