February 1oth was Lunar New Year, or more commonly, Chinese New Year. I’m a little late posting this, but we’ve been seriously busy the past few weeks, so better late than never, right? Without further ado, here is our first Chinese New Year experience.
Envision this: every store except 7-11 and McDonalds is closed, families travel miles to reunite, food is in abundance, red banners of blessing are on every door, families give red envelopes filled with money to one another, and fire crackers are exploding non-stop. It is a very festive and long holiday in many Asian countries, the festivities last for almost one week.
We had the week off from work, and spent most of the time cocooned on the couch with books. We are proud to say that our New Year’s goal of reading a book every week is being fulfilled, and then some! We did take the occasional respite in order to walk the dog, feed ourselves, and go see the New Year’s festivities in town.
To kick off our New Year’s celebration, we were invited to have New Year’s Eve dinner with Anly and her family. Her mother made some traditional foods, like fish, and we added some burritos to the feast! Fish is a traditional food to eat on New Year because the Chinese word for fish 魚 can also mean abundance or more precisely “more than enough”, so people like to eat the fish to represent the hopes of an abundant year. Tradition says you are not to eat the full fish to symbolize that you will have more than enough in the year to come.
Our small city, normally rather boring, was bustling with New Year’s festivities. A small road in the heart of downtown was blocked off so that games and street vendors could line up to entertain and feed the crowd. We went to the street on several occasions with different friends. We played some games, ate Taiwanese snacks, and had a fun time! My favorite part about this street was that a certain street vendor was selling corn dogs (my snack of choice)!!!! In addition to the street, the cultural center in town hosted a performance group from China. We went to see the last performance, and were really impressed. The performance featured very talented dancers, jugglers, singers, amazing balancing acts, and so much more!
We came to Taiwan not knowing what to expect during Chinese New Year, but we enjoyed every minute of it! Next year we hope to have just as much, if not more fun, celebrating Lunar New Year, we might even put up the red banners. 🙂