Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Gong XI Fa Cai
Happy Chinese New Year
Welcome to the year of the rat. Today begins the 14 day celebration of Chinese New Year. It is the beginning of the new lunar year. Chinese New Year is one of the many new holidays we celebrate here in Malaysia. The Chinese population spend a lot of time getting ready for this time of year. The whole house is cleaned from top to bottom, from washing windows and bed spreads, dusting corners and cleaning out even the garden everything is made clean. We have a large house next to us where a Chinese family lives and the maids have been very busy for almost a week now preparing. Special cookies and meals are made. Bamboo, lime trees and pussy willows can be seen all over to bring good luck. Their are many other rituals that involve offerings to different gods which I do not know enough about to try and explain. Today is spent with family. Many people travel home to be with their parents and huge family dinners will be held. Tomorrow is when people will hold their open houses and go and visit their friends. We are getting to go to one such open house.
Today however we went to see a Lion Dance. This was not our first lion dance. We saw one a couple of weeks ago at the opening of a restaurant. But they are very exciting and not done very often. The Lion Dance is done with two older boys inside of a lion costume as pictured above. There is a group of boys that play drums, cymbals and bells. The music is like word to a story and the lion reacts accordingly. But they do not just dance, they leap up on to poles and jump around spin, run back and forth and make faces and gestures with the lion head. All the while the music plays on. Carley who is not a fan of loud noises and it is very loud loves to watch the lion dance. Today she was very worried about the boys because at one point it looked like the lion had slipped off the pole. But I told her it was part of the dance. Even James laughed and pointed as the lion danced. When it was over the lions passed out tangerines to all the children as a sign of good fortune in the New Year. Lets just say that James did not like the up close and personal attention of the lion. It was very exciting especially since we got to be so close. Enjoy the video.


P Mixter said...

Happy New Year! Great video (OK, back to work!)

Jackie Nelson said...

This is so'll definitely have to do more videos on here...what a great cultural experience for your kids to experience...and maybe someday James will get used to it all!!

Bert Burt said...

The Year of the Rat - what a great experience for your family. Glad to hear the kids (for the most part) enjoyed the activities. Sounds like James has a "bubble" that he wants to be respected - much like other members of our family. Hope you have a great time celebrating Chinese New Year

K Mayne said...

What fun! I got to go to a Chinese New Year lunch. We have a bunch of students from Taiwan. People got to eat by age- oldest first- and got their red envelopes by age too- youngest first!
Ben and I are vegetarians for Lent!
Love ya!