Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Spring Festival! 23/365

February 3rd is the first day of the New Year on the Lunar Calendar. It's the first day of Chinese New Year. In China it's the first day of Spring Festival. The whole country has the entire week off work and most people go back to their hometowns to be with their families. The whole week is spent with family and friends and usually involves a lot of great food.

Each year has an animal mascot. There is a 12 year cycle of 12 animals and each animal represents a different set of characteristics. In English we call this the Chinese Zodiac.

Tonight is the Chinese version of New Year's Eve but a hundred times more crazy than you've ever seen. Every one buys a lot of fire works. HUGE fire works, and they set them off every night for the entire week. Especially on the first night.

**EDIT** This picture is a picture William took of our neighbor's fire works that went off out side our window of our 17th floor apartment.  Think 4th of July on steroids where every one in the city is allowed to buy the kind of fireworks that your city buys for the community "fire works show."

Here's a recap of our last few Spring Festivals:

Our first Chinese New Year was in 2008. It was the year of the mouse.

We had been in Shanghai for a few weeks and we enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the big city.  That year we knew no one in Shanghai and we spent the week watching bad boot leg DVDs.  Since most people went home to visit their families, the city felt a little empty and lonely. We were actually happy to have the crowds back when every one came back. Plus our street feed vendor was gone all week and we didn't have any place to eat. 

Our second Chinese New Year was 2009 and the year of the Ox.

That year we had friends but they all left town so William and I went to a movie in a real theater.
 The City was so beautifully decorated that year.  Shortly after Spring Festival we found out we were pregnant!

We went to Yu Yuan to see all the decorations. It's a local Shanghai tradition.

It gets kind of crowded.

In 2010 was the year of the Tiger.
 Here's a picture of William last year at a Spring Festival work party. He came home acting funny that night.
Bonita was already born and since it was the only time William had off work we decided to do what most Chinese do, we went home to visit our families.  
We were good Chinese and brought lots of gifts and special food to share. We even set off some fire crackers.

(all the above pictures were taken by William Minnis)

This year is the year of the Rabbit and we are not in China. This is our first Chinese New Year living in The States. Last year at this time we didn't know we'd be moving back!

(This picture was borrowed from the internet. but it is of Yu Yuan 2011)

(This is a picture of the beautiful day that we had today.)

Today I looked through all our old pictures of our past Spring Festivals and I missed seeing the decorations. I miss the red fire cracker papers all over the ground and I really miss Chinese food. Especially the 8 treasure rice cake that is eaten at this time of year.

Even though there were no fireworks we had dinner with my parents and then watched a movie together (Ground Hog's Day). That's a pretty standard way to spend Chinese New Year. 

 Last Year Bonnie Rose was just a little thing. She was just under 5 months old and she still didn't have any teeth.

This year our little princess is 15 months and 3 weeks and walking.

Happy Spring Festival Every one!
Happy Chinese New Year!
May this year be full of love and joy,
and may your heart be filled with love.

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