2.16.2010

Chinese New Year - The year of the Tiger


I’ve never experienced a culture celebrate a holiday quite like how the Chinese celebrate the Chinese New Year. The best comparison we have as westerners is to compare it to Christmas, in fact, many Chinese people will say this to foreigners.

But for the most part Christmas is celebrated with your own family, in your own home, celebrating with your own traditions… Not, for example, everyone in your nation of 1.6 billion people buying enough fireworks to destroy France (or at least Paris) and then setting them off throughout a two week period.

That’s another thing, in America, we don’t have any holidays that last more than a day. Right? Am I missing one? But the Chinese New Year is celebrated over a span of two weeks. With people going out and meeting with friends and family, eating tons of delicious food and spending lots of money (or so I’m told).

This is interesting, because the Chinese are conservative spenders by nature, but when it comes to the Chinese New Year no expense seems to be too great. Like I said each person buys a boat load of fireworks, but they also buy clothes, food and give money away to their relatives kids (I think someone told me this…)

Lastly, it starts of a different day from year to year… That’s right, it doesn't always start on the same date. This is because it follows the Lunar calendar and so for example; last year the holiday started in January, this year, February. Crazy! The most important holiday for a nation of 1.6 billion people doesn’t even fall in the same month from year to year. I’m aware of Easter and Thanksgiving also being like this, but again, the magnitude of this holiday just adds a different dimension to it.

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is truly an amazing thing to be part of (even if it is just you hiding in your apartment from fear of a million fireworks going off at once). Either way, thank you China! My family will grow up with this being part of our memories and for that I’m grateful.

Enjoy this day,
Matt

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1 comments:

Jeremy and Jenny said...

"buying enough fireworks to destroy France (or at least Paris)" - hahahaha