Feb 2, 201105:26 PMChina Mom
Everything but the whole fish
A Facebook friend posted an illustration of our state with the words "Oklahoma is closed" today. It certainly feels like it, with most businesses closed - even the Tulsa World has ceased production until Saturday!
I don't know about you, but since Snowzapalooza hit, I've been spending a lot of time with my family. We've watched movies, played games, read books, cooked - a lot, eaten - a lot and had a lot of fun. Why...it's almost like...Chinese New Year around here.
And just in time, too. Because tomorrow, appropriately enough, is Chinese New Year! Happy Year of the Rabbit!
Halfway around the world, an entire country is closing down, not due to snow, but because of Chinese New Year - or Spring Festival as it's also known. Millions of Chinese will travel hundreds of miles to be with their family - many for the first and only time this year since they often work in cities far away from their hometown. Imagine...two weeks of snow days.
I've always thought that if China had a signature drink, Chinese New Year would be a bigger holiday here in the United States. You know, like beer on St. Patrick's Day or margaritas on Cinco de Mayo.
But the fact of the matter is, Chinese New Year isn't about drinking. It's about family . Once a year, the entire country basically closes so they can go home and spend two weeks with their loved ones. Often husbands and wives are separated for a full year because of work, only to be together for the New Year.
Once I did some "cyphering" and figured out that our daughter could be the result of a New Year's reunion, based on her birthdate and the date of Spring Festival 2005.
But I digress.
In China, they celebrate the New Year with lots and lots of wonderful food - and of course each dish is full of symbolism and meaning. Long noodles for long life, dumplings for wealth, oranges for luck and whole fish and chicken for luck - the use of knives is thought to "sever" the entire family's good fortune.
My daughter is obsessed with having a whole fish this year. She's also obsessed with making sure her noodles don't break so she'll have a long life, but she's really zoned in on that fish. I've tried to not make it a big deal so she won't know it creeps me out, but that doesn't seem to be working. She can tell. She knows. She's testing me. I know it...
But I digress.
In addition to all kinds of symbolic foods, Chinese visit family - aunts, uncles, cousins and elderly neighbors. They clean house, get new clothes and pay off old debts. Everything is done to start the new year fresh and new.
Today, I decided to take this snow-portunity (sorry) to clean our house and start the Year of the Rabbit fresh and new. And tonight, I'm preparing as close to a Chinese dinner as I can considering I'm still stuck inside the house. We'll have everything but the whole fish. I realize I'm risking my entire family's good fortune , but that's a risk I just have to take.
Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year!