I’m with Sally at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine today. Sally features my post about the legend and traditions of Chinese New Year. I learned a lot by preparing this post. It brought back many childhood memories. Please head over to visit Sally and her rich features on her blog.
Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.
The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’
In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021 – details of how you can participate are at the end of the post.
This is the first post from children’s author and poet Miriam Hurdle and was published in February 2021 and is a celebration of Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year – Memories, Calendar, Legend, and Traditions
Chinese New Year begins on Friday, February 12, 2021. It is the year of Ox. The holiday was…
Chinese New Year begins on Friday, February 12, 2021.It is the year of Ox. The holiday was traditionally a time to honor household and heavenly deities and ancestors. It was also a time to bring the family together for feasting.
When I was a kid, my favorite family time was Chinese New Year. We had one week off from school and my dad had five days off from work. On New Year’s Eve, Flower Markets took place in major parks. They were open from early evening to 5:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
One year, I went to the Flower Market with my older sister and her boyfriend. We lived in western side on the Hong Kong island, and took the tram to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. By the time we finished walking through the entire market, there was no tram in operation until morning. We followed the tram track and took one hour and thirty minutes to walk home.
I was half asleep even though my feet were moving with one hand holding my sister’s and other hand holding something she bought me. I dropped the bag on the ground many times, bent down, picked it up and continued walking on autopilot.
By the time we got home, my mom had made special food as part of the Chinese New Year ritual. I liked sweet rice balls. We ate and went to sleep for a few hours. On New Year’s Day, everyone put on new clothing. Kids would say “Gung Hei Fat Choi” (Wishing you prosperous) to the parents and adults. My parents and the adults in the neighborhood gave us kids Lucky Money in red envelopes. It was the tradition for the married people to give Lucky Money to the kids and unmarried adults. We visited our relatives on the second, fourth, and fifth day. Kids loved that because we could keep all our Lucky Money.
We anticipated with excitement on the 3rd day. There were three activities became our family tradition. In the morning we went to Tiger Balm Garden, which was a private mansion and garden that eventually became a public garden. After Tiger Balm Garden, we went to the Botanic Arboretum, and visited the Governor’s Garden, which was open to the public during Chinese New Year.
Being able to spend five holidays with my parents was the best thing for me as a kid.
Why Chinese New Year is on a different date each year?
Chinese New Year is based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. It functioned as a religious, dynastic, and social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records show the calendar existed as early as 14th century B.C. when the Shang Dynasty was in power.
A lunar calendar is based on the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases, with the new moon being the first of the month and full moon the middle of the month.
Each lunation is approximately 29 1⁄2 days. The lunar calendar alternates between 29 and 30 days a month and an average of 354 days a year.
The Gregorian calendar has an average of 365.25 days a year, and therefore 365 days a year with 366 days in a leap year every four years.
Approximately every three years (7 times in 19 years), a leap month is added to the Chinese calendar. To determine when, we find the number of new moons between the 11th month in one year and the 11th month in the following year. A leap month is inserted if there are 13 New Moon from the start of the 11th month in the first year to the start of the 11th month in the next year.
Chinese New Year usually begins when the new moon occurs between January 21 and February 20, and it lasts about 15 days until the full moon arrives with the Festival of Lanterns.
The Legend of Chinese New Year celebration
According to Chinese mythology, a Nian is a beast lived under the sea or in the mountains. It was unclear whether the Nian was an authentic folk mythology or a local oral tradition. Some sources cited it resembled a lion’s head with a dog’s body. Towards the end of winter, on Chinese New Year’s Eve, the Nian came out to feed on crops and sometime children. All the villagers hid from the beast. One year, an old man came to the village. On the New Year’s Eve, after the villagers escaped, he put red papers up and set off firecrackers to drive off the creature. The next day, the villagers came back to their town and saw that nothing was destroyed. They later found out the old man discovered the Nian was afraid of red and loud noises. It became the tradition the villagers celebrated the New Year wearing red clothes, hanging red lanterns, and red scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian.
Chinese New Year Traditions and Symbols
The Chinese New Year is a time of change and new beginnings, wearing something new is a symbol of removing the old and welcoming the new. Red is the color for celebrating any happy occasion, as it represents prosperity and good luck.
Lucky Money Red Envelopes The married people give the Lucky Money red envelopes to children or unmarried adults to bless them with good luck/fortune and happiness/abundance.
Plum and Peach Blossoms
People decorate their homes with fruit blossoms to symbolize a plentiful crop in the new year. Peach blossoms symbolize long life, romance, and prosperity.
The homophone of the Chinese word ‘fish’ is the same as the word for ‘surplus’ inferring more than enough. By hanging up fish decorations or eat fish, people hope the New Year will bring wealth and prosperity.
Tangerines and Oranges
Both fruits symbolize abundant happiness. The homophone of ‘tangerine’ is the same for the word ‘luck’ and the homophone of ‘orange’ sounds the same as the word for ‘wealth’. When visiting family and friends, it is a custom to take a gift bag of oranges or tangerines.
Rice-cake — Progression or Promotion
Glutinous rice cake is a lucky food eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve. This is play on words to infer “getting higher year after year.” It can imply children’s height, rise in business success, better grades in study, or promotions at work.
Sweet Rice Balls — Family Togetherness
The homophone of ‘ball’ and round shape are associated with reunion and being together. They are favorite food during the New Year celebrations.
I hope you enjoyed finding out something interesting!
This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122, we are excited to have Ann as the guest host. Ann invited us to look at the theme, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”
I follow the theme to meditate on the sun will come out tomorrow. This thought also led me to contemplate the idea that on a cloudy day, the sun is shining bright in the sky even when we don’t see it.
“What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder.” – Opera Winfrey
When something went wrong, instead of spending too much time asking why it happened, I found myself asking, “What should we do next?” It’s valuable to assess what went wrong so we could avoid making the same mistake. Staying in the pity pit for too long and we could be drowned.
“Hope abides; therefore, I abide. Hope abides; therefore, I bide. Countless frustrations have not cowed me. I am still alive, vibrant with life. The black cloud will disappear, the morning sun will appear once again in all its supernal glory.” – Sri Chinmoy
On one Maui trip, we drove up to the Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). Halfway up the mountain, the black clouds gathered, and it started to rain. We droved past the low clouds. I saw the bright sun in the clear sky. It was an experience I never forget. How often do I stay below to see the black cloud and forget the sun is still there even though I don’t see it at the moment? The similar experience applied to traveling on the plane. I could see the sun above the fluffy black clouds.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some people say they don’t have any pleasant memories in their lives. I wonder if we could create a good memory today. When tomorrow come, we would have one day of good memory. It’s like making a deposit of one positive day at a time to the “Good Memory” bank.
“Grace comes into the soul as the morning sun into the world: there is first a dawning, then a mean light, and at last the sun in his excellent brightness.” – Thomas Adams
My husband Lynton said to me, “I kiss you and tell you ‘I love you’ before we go to bed every night because I don’t know if we would die asleep. I hold you tight in the morning because I’m happy that we are alive to welcome a new day.”
“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller
There’s no doubt we have shadows in our life, the matter is our choice. We choose to face the sun and focus on the energy that carry us through the darkness.
Today we start a series of four posts from the archives of poet Miriam Hurdle, who is a regular contributor to the blog. This time I am selecting the posts and the first one I would like to share with you. This week I thought we might find out a little more about Miriam and this post was in response to a prompt on Cee’s Share Your World – June 4, 2018
Share Your World by Miriam Hurdle.
Cee posts excellent questions in this week’s Share Your World – June 4, 2018.
I had written a post about my sister Canty’s Home going on January 29 when I returned from Hong Kong.
It was my nephew Enoch’s wedding on January 19, 2019. Mercy, Will, Autumn, Lynton and I traveled to Hong Kong to share his joyous beginning journey of marriage. We arrived on January 12. Three days later, I got a message from sister #12 Yolanda, the mother-in-law to be, letting me know that sister #8 Canty was in the hospital. Later that day, Canty’s son messaged me that his mom had liver inflammation and hydrocephalus, congestive heart failure.
Sister #13 Queenie was also traveling from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to attend the wedding. I had scheduled the visit of Canty as soon as Queenie arrived.
On the 17th, the third day of being in the hospital, Canty’s condition made a sharp decline at noon. We all rushed to the hospital by taxi. She was unconscious when we were by her bedside. We took turns to massage her head and hands, speaking to her. She seemed to hear us as the muscles of the forehead gradually relaxed.
Queenie arrived in that early evening and made her way to the hospital. By that time, the monitor couldn’t detect the blood pressure. The doctor said she was on 100% oxygen and received mediation to sustain her heart. Her breathing and heartbeat were artificial for some hours.
After Queenie spoke to her, I went close to the bed and saw the blood coming out of her nose. I got the attention of the nurse. The nurse couldn’t stop the bleeding and informed us that, “It’s time.” Before the nurse closed the drape around her bed, I saw the blood gushing out of her nostrils.
~ ~ ~ Canty was a Ballroom Dance instructor in her early years. She continued to be active in dancing. She participated in the Dance Championship on November 4, 2018 and received an award. She posted some photos on social media. I messaged her on January 4, 2019, saying I wanted to see her dancing. She sent me the video clip of her Championship dancing. I said, “See you next week.” It was saddened to say good-bye to her within two weeks of sharing her thrilling moments.
Cee posts excellent questions in this week’s Share Your World – June 4, 2018.
A piece of clothing from your younger childhood you still remember?
I came to the US 40 years ago as a student. I checked in 2 suitcases to my flight. I had one carry on, and my purse. I wish I had brought more sentimental items, but I couldn’t. In fact, my carry on was too full that the security people asked me to take out something to leave behind. The problem was that I packed them very tight. After I took out something and repacked them, the bag was bigger than before. If you like camping and roll every piece of clothing tight to make your packing compact, you could visualize how I packed my bag.
During my three years of studies in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, I moved 9 times. In 1980, I drove from Seattle to Los Angles, California by myself. It was 1,1 75 miles with 18 hours of driving. I stopped overnight in San Francisco. Next day I still arrived Los Angles after dark. The freeway was very intimidating to a new person in town.
Even if I had brought a piece of childhood clothing, it couldn’t have survived with so many moving. Fortunately, my sister had scanned some of my childhood photos and I made copies of them. The first one was when I was six years old. I wore a Chinese style top and matching fabric pants. The second photo was when I was in third grade with the school uniform, a white shirt and a blue skirt with straps.
Regardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would you do? Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.I would like to be a competitive swimmer. I learned swimming in the ocean when I was in Hong Kong. After I graduated from college and started working, it was hard to find time to go to the beach. I went swimming in an outdoor pool in a park. During one swimming, I slipped and almost got drown. Ever since then, I was afraid of water. I still swim, but only in shallow water.
The photo was taken when Mercy, Will and her friend participated in the Triathlon.
In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?
I had driven long miles during my working life. I stayed in the same school district for 25 years even though we moved three times. The furthest distance was 30 miles with heavy traffic. The longest time it took to go to work was two and a half hours. The driving put a lot of stress on me, so we moved closer, but it was still a 21 miles drive.
After I retired, I don’t like to drive too much, especially at night. If I had a choice, I prefer to be a passenger.
What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
I appreciate that I could spend the time to do gardening, trim the grape vines, watching the Red Throat Hummingbirds, the House Finch birds, and the Mourning Doves.
I can’t believe that Randy passed away in January 2016. I still can hear his cheerful voice and his laughter. Randy was our neighbor living two doors down the street. For twelve years, he and my husband went to the gym on weekdays, mountain bike riding on weekends, and happy hours on Fridays. I went with them for happy hours because I was the designated driver. We had barbeques on holidays and spontaneous game nights.
During the twelve years, Randy drove one and a half hours each way to take care of his ex-mother-in-law. When she was not able to care for herself, he helped to move her to a skilled nursing facility in our neighborhood and helped to sell her house. It amazed me at how a guy could take care of his ex-mother-in-law to that extent.
When he studied to take the Commercial Appraiser exam, his study materials made me dizzy. He was brilliant yet humble, accepting and non-judgmental. He kept in touch with childhood friends and held his own High School Reunion regularly.
Twenty-six months ago, Randy went on a mountain bike riding with a fellow from the gym. He had a terrible accident that smashed his head and face. He didn’t make it to the hospital. He’d be 65 years old on April 2, 2018
Randy was my husband’s best friend. Having a best friend in the next door is a rare, once in a lifetime experience. We miss Randy!
This week’s Share Your World question from Cee Neuner and my sharing.
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
A perfect day to me would be a day waking up refreshed from a good night sleep. A good night sleep is not a guarantee to me these days. Too much tingling on my legs or had sweet and caffeine late in the day would keep me awake for hours. Discipline in diet and exercise is not a choice but a necessity for a good night sleep.
A perfect day would be a day with a clear mind and energy to write, create, organize, and enjoy the nature and music.
Complete this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world…..
My favorite place in the whole world is home. We love to travel and we do travel a lot. So far we have taken a ten-day trip the longest. toward the end of traveling, I look forward to coming home.
Home is a familiar and convenient place. At home, I have a familiar routine of going to the gym, doing gardening, and meeting with friends. I also have the convenience of reaching to the shelf for my favorite music CD, or for personal needs such as medication.
My front yard
Who was your best friend in elementary school (prior to age 12)?
My best friend in elementary school is Shirley Marr from fourth grade. Her mother was the music teacher. Shirley played piano and I often went to visit her and just listened to her practicing piano. We continued to be friends and correspond throughout the years. She was married and moved to London. When we traveled to London on a tour, we arrived in London prior to the tour group. Shirley and her husband took us sightseeing for five days.
What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
It is a pleasure to introduce my guest blogger Mercy Rossi, my daughter. She will take you on an exciting trip. before they went on this trip, they took rock climbing lessons!
The fall of 2016, my husband and I traveled to Zion National Park. We were awed yet again by God’s beautiful creation.
The sun moves towards the horizon, casting shadows on majestic rock formations, which draw thousands of visitors each year.
We did an overnight camping trip along the West Rim trail. Sometimes in life, we lose sight of what’s truly important, but being in nature helps us regain our focus.
Alone in the wilderness, I gaze out over the deep canyons, breathing in the sweet air slowly, appreciating being present in the moment.
The light breaks through the trees in a soft and gentle way.
This was our first canyoneering trip together. It involved trusting one another, trusting ourselves, trusting the equipment, communicating well, overcoming fear, and I saved the best for last – having fun and memories of being outside of our comfort zone together!
There are many quotes about hard work but this one I find captures what we experienced during this trip: “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations” – this was true of canyoneering but also true of life in general, whether it’s overcoming a difficult situation with a good friend or a partner or something more personal like being hurt by a loved one.
Before cell phones, I used to memorize phone numbers. I can’t estimate the number of phone numbers I memorized, but I was referred to as phone directory. When cell phones get popular, I depend on it to store the phone numbers and my brain gets lazy.
It was hard when I misplaced keys, glasses, or looked at an acquaintance and couldn’t remember her name. I tried to concentrate and pray. Many times I found the misplaced items immediately. My memory is still there, but it takes longer to retrieve information.
My husband and I have regular place for keys, glasses, cell phones, and other daily use items. When we need them, we could reach them right away.
The funny thing is when I went on trips; I tried to hide my important things in a secret place. It was so secret that when I returned from the trips, I forgot what the secret place was!
Both my husband and I realize that our short term memory is not as quick as when we were younger. Therefore, when something needed to be done, we usually do it right away, instead of wait until later. If we can’t do it right away, we write it on a note paper, record it on the cell phone, or send a text to ourselves.
As for me, I love playing board games or computer games. I also take classes for the retirees to continue learning new things. All these activities help my brain stays active and responds quickly.