About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chinese New Year To Me

Chinese New Year to me means new door gods at 7-11. The whole world washed in red and gold paper decorations, the stores selling traditional Chinese clothing, and red underwear for that important, auspicious first day. I enjoy making Chinese New Year arts and crafts with my class. We have flying dragons floating all around our classroom. My front door has a single character for "blessing"  fu 福 which hung upside down means "coming". Its not like I went out and bought it, the book store gave it to me for free. What I do buy every year around this time from the bookstore is this packet of 12 Chinese prints based on the coming new year animal. This includes for example, posters of paper cuttings, art, calligraphy, the chronology of the dragon in Chinese cultural history.

Chinese Paper cutting

Here is an interesting video on some of the origins of Chinese New Year’s customs and the Nian story:

For my Taiwanese friends it is their Christmas. The whole family gets together and eats auspicious sounding foods, the names of fish, pineapple and orange sound similar to lucky words in Mandarin. Red envelopes full of money are given. There is a protocol, the night before, the first day, actually every day, whose house to go over. I think the universal practice is to clean the whole house (out with the old in with the new) and wear new clothes inside and out.

I was at my Chinese “parents” home tonight and they were with their friends playing (betting) Mahjong. They gave Z a red envelope. They invited us to watch fireworks at the City Council building, but Z pretty much detests fireworks up close (and she lives in Tainan!).

Now it’s the year of the dragon, supposedly auspicious for everyone. There is an old story about the Chinese 12 zodiac animals below. Gong xi fa cai from me and Z!

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