Yay! The first day of Chinese New Year. This is the year of the dragon, which is probably the most auspicious year for the Chinese, since we Chinese are the descendants of the dragon.
Every year during this time I miss my family terribly. It's supposed to be a time for family gathering and I miss out on that every year ever since I moved to the U.S. Sigh. But next year I am pretty sure we will be home for Chinese New Year. Mr.L will be done with school and we might just fly back to Malaysia and live there for a few months...or years.
I just love all the superstitious stuff my family does for CNY. Every year nobody sweeps the floor during CNY, it is believed that you will sweep the fortune out the door. Then, we light the crazy loud fire crackers at midnight (every household does) and let the wrappings fall on the ground for the rest of the festival. CNY lasts for 15 days and we can visit friends and family for 15 solid days if we want to. The best thing about that is not only do we get to eat, drink, and be merry, we get MONEY for visiting them! Well, that is if we're still single. Once you're married, you lose that privilege to "earn" money. When I was small, I would always get a few hundred, sometimes up to a thousand ringgit. That's like college fund.
My least favorite time of CNY was when I was awaken early in the morning by my aunt's loud speaker. She would be playing CNY songs really really loudly (you can hear it a few doors down). That was her favorite thing to do. She saw it as her mission to irritate us out of bed so we would get out butt downstairs and eat the breakfast my grandma prepared. My grandma always cooked chicken soup with shiitake mushrooms and long life noodles. I love that tradition so much because grandma always put lots of red rice wine in the soup so it smelled super good. My cousins and I would always slurp the long noodles because we were not supposed to cut the noodles short so we could live a long and prosperous life.
My favorite part of CNY is watching the lion dance. The lion symbolized the monster called "Nian", which came to the Chinese village thousands of years ago to terrorize the Chinese people. The people were terrified of it at first but they found out about the weakness of "Nian". It was afraid of red color and loud noises. Therefore, the people painted their houses red and bang on gongs and plates and threw loud firecrackers at it to chase it away. The lion dance pretty much depicts that story but nowadays it is an auspicious thing to invite the lion to your house, and have it kowtow to you and your house. This means that good things will happen to your family.
Oh man, the more I talk about it the more I miss my family and CNY! I wish I could convey the feeling that I have for this special celebration adequately. But words are always not enough. I am so proud of my Chinese heritage.
Here's a video of the lion dance. Fast forwward to minute 1:40