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Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013
Happy (Chinese) New Year!Posted Monday, January 26, 2009, at 9:22 AM
Two little girls play in street decorated with lanterns in Pingyao, north China's Shanxi Province, Jan. 17, 2009. The time-honoured Pingyao city listed among the UNESCO World Cultural Heritages prepares for the approaching Spring Festival with traditional celebrations. Photo and caption from Xinhua news agency.
Basically, the Chinese New Year is like Christmas to most Americans. It is the holiday where everyone wants to go home, which creates problems with overcrowded trains. It is also the holiday with the longest break from work or school because the festival is 15 days long.
Because I can't witness the celebrations myself, I asked my Chinese friend Shawna to tell me what she does to celebrate this most important holiday. She said it's mostly a time spent with family, where all the female relatives cook and watch the special broadcasts on CCTV (China Central Television, the state-owned network).
Shawna is from Yunnan Province, which borders Tibet, and she said hotpot is a traditional New Year's dish; in other parts of the country, dumplings are the food of choice. I tried hotpot a couple of times while I was in China, and it is certainly delicious. It is basically a soup that you cook yourself at a restaurant, though I'm sure people make it at home, too. The waitress brings a pot of broth, which goes on the burner in the center of the table. Then you add meat and vegetables and noodles to your liking and wait for it to cook.
Another important part of the New Year is fireworks, on scales both large and small. Shawna said that the public firework shows rival those of the Beijing Olympics in their grandeur, and, as someone who witnessed the latter, that really is saying something.
She also said that, just like July 4 in America, Chinese people set off their own fireworks. A quote from her Facebook message to me:
"On the street millions of people are playing firecrackers! You need to be careful, careful, and careful."
Last week, I called all the Chinese restaurants in Marshall to see if they had anything special planned for today. Sadly, none did, but it might just be a good day for ordinary Chinese food anyway. Happy year of the ox!
Little Town Blues Goes to China
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Something about music. Something about small towns. Something about Hong Kong. Or maybe something else entirely.
Sydney is a former staff writer for the Democrat-News. She received degrees from University of Missouri in both music and magazine journalism. She played oboe with the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and the Marshall Municipal Band while she was in Marshall.