Happy New Year everyone! Chinese New Year began yesterday and I hope you’re all prepared for the year of the water snake, because to me it’s sounding a little scary. One of the things, for example, that we are cautioned to remember as we enter the realm of the snake is that the snake can swallow an animal larger than itself. Don’t underestimate the power and ambition of the snake, we are warned, though if left undisturbed he will not attack. A good year, then, for keeping calm in the place you’ve already found. Let sleeping snakes lie, if you will.
On a brighter note, Chinese New Year is a big deal in the Bay Area. So big, in fact, that in San Francisco it’s actually a school holiday. Families started celebrating Sunday and will continue for two full weeks. The festivities culminate with a parade that boasts of being on the list of top ten parades in the world, as well as the largest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside of Asia. It’s on Sunday the 23rd this year and, if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s really something to see. Acrobats, martial artists and a 200-foot dragon just begin to describe what you’ll find there. And don’t forget that fireworks were invented in China.
In the meantime, each of the days of the next two weeks has some special designation and there are a few you might want to look forward to. The fifth, for example, which is this coming Thursday, is Welcome God of Wealth Day. Sounds good to me. Then the tenth day, which is the following Tuesday, is Eating Day, which also seems good. Watch out, though, for the twelfth day, aka Diarrhea Day. That one makes me wonder about the translation I’m looking at, but, whatever it else it may be about in it’s original Chinese, it’s for sure a reminder to exercise caution on Eating Day.
This crazy cultural salad bowl that we live in can be as wonderful as it is difficult and alienating. The Chinese New Year festivities are a great example of why all the hard work is worth it. Gung Hay Fat Choy everyone!