Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sri Lanka here we come

We've decided that we've had enough of Beijing and it is time to take a honeymoon, so we're off to Sri Lanka. That's right - warm breezes with moisture in the air and air that you can't see! We'll post pictures when we get back.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chinese New Years

Next weeks starts Spring Festival also called Chinese New Years. Its a huge deal here as almost everyone goes home to be with their family and local places (other than the temples) close down. Below is some information that is copied from the Embassy newsletter.

We are going to a jaozi eating Spring Festival party on Saturday to do our part :)

Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival/ Lunar New Year (春节/ 农历新年 Chūnjié/ Nónglì Xīnnián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The Chinese New Year period lasts for 15 days, beginning on the first day of the first lunar month (正月 Zhèng Yuè) of the Chinese calendar (this year, it falls on Feb.18). The holiday period ends with 元宵节 Yuan Xiao Jie), on the 15th day of the festival.

According to legend, in ancient China, Nian, a man-eating beast from the mountains, could infiltrate houses silently to prey on humans. The people later learned that Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the color red. So 过年guo nian actually means surviving the Nian. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations.

年夜 (nián yè fàn )New Year’s Eve dinner or Reunion dinner

A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far, get together for a celebration. The venue will usually be in the home of the most senior member of the family, though nowadays people prefer having it in restaurants for the sake of convenience. The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes Fish ( yú). The fish dish is not eaten up completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase 年年有余 (nián nián yǒu yú), which means "may there be surpluses every year", which sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."

Most Chinese Northerners serve dumplings as the main dish in this festive season and many Chinese around the world do the same because it is believed that dumplings (饺子, jiǎo zi) are wrapped in the semblance of Chinese gold ingots used in ancient China. This gold nugget is called 金元宝(jin yuán bǎo). Mandarin oranges are the most popular and most abundant fruit during Chinese New Year.

红包(hόng bāo) Red packets for the immediate family are usually distributed during the reunion dinner.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Radio update

Apparently the radio station was trying to make up for that last song because last night on my way home I was treated to the Ramon's "I wanna be sedated" and "Runaway train" by Soul Asylum. So I guess it all balances out.