Gong Xi Fa Cai (Happy New Year)

Friday 4 February 2011
We haven't celebrated Chinese New Year in years. Shame on me. When we left Borneo almost 2 decades ago, there were only a handful of immigrants of Chinese origin where we lived. The festival became more of a casual affair before dissipating into nothing more than a passing memory. Mom would often remind me to cook so mian or otherwise known as the Foochow long life noodle on Chinese New Year eve. The noodle is eaten with a traditional Foochow chicken soup where meat portions are first fried with pieces of ginger before adding homemade rice wine and water.

Before we left Miri on our recent trip back, my cousin handed me a set of traditional Chinese outfits. Little L and her best friend Little M were thrilled to wear their new outfits. So on the early morning of the first day of Chinese New Year, the two little girls skipped to their school hand in hand wearing their new outfits. Upon arrival, they were immediately besieged by their schoolmates which I'm sure made them feel like movie stars.



Her school has invited me on numerous occasions to speak about Chinese New Year which I finally reluctantly requiesce. I admire those who are naturally good with young kids and are able to engage in little talks. Speaking in front of 60 inquisitive, sometimes mischievous and more often than not, fidgety 4-5 year olds is no easy task. I was touched to see the effort the teachers have put into educating their students about the festival. The kids have spent days making paper dragons, setting up  displays about China, putting up decoration and learning the Chinese characters for Gong Xi Fa Cai. Bear in mind that there are only 2 Chinese students in a school of more than 300.


Did you know that Guo Nian (celebrate Chinese New Year) was supposedly named after Nian, a monster with a big mouth which loved to eat people? One day, an old man managed to persuade Nian to eat beasts that prey the earth instead of the villagers. Soon after, he got on the back of Nian and rode away, never to be seen again. He turned out to be an immortal god. Before he left, he advised the villagers to stick red decorations on windows and doors to repel Nian as it hated the color. Every year thereafter, the villagers would celebrate Guo Nian which originally meant "Survive Nian". It's amazing what one learns from Google!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...