Monday, December 26, 2011

Celebrate two New Year's in January

This year we will celebrate two New Year's Days in January. The first is January 1, the start of a new calendar year. The second in January 23, which is Chinese New Year's, also known as Spring Festival. The date is flexible, as it is based on a lunar calendar, occurring on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Some years the holiday is celebrated in January, other years it takes place in February.

My husband and I celebrate Chinese New Year on the night before by having a few friends in for a home-cooked Chinese dinner. It's not as elaborate as the dinner we would have if we were in China at this time, but then I am not talented enough to cook 10 dishes on four burners. I marvel at how friends can turn out a veritable smorgasbord in just a short time on two burners.

I lived in China during the years of the pig and ox, and have visited for the years of other animals. I always enjoyed the decorations for an animal's year. Huge displays of the animal in all sorts of activities. During the Year of the Pig, I decided to specialize in taking pictures of pigs, and came home with hundreds of pictures of stuffed pigs, balloon pigs, real live piglets, pigs formed by pruning shrubs into that shape and so on.

I also enjoyed going to temple fairs held during that time, and hope to be able to do so again in the future. The fairs are like ours, with games for the children, parades and entertainment. I watched in awe as a man teetering on high stilts did a somersault, landing standing up on this stilts.

I've pulled together a few articles written by writers for my Chinese history page. The collection includes foods that are traditionally eaten for China's biggest holiday, the Chinese zodiac, history of Chinese New Year, and activities for kids during this time.

Are you going to China?

If you're planning a trip to China, check out my website, Cheryl's China, and feel free to email me if you have any questions about travel in the Middle Kingdom.