Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year for 2009!

I'm spending a quiet day on my own this year. Most of the family is overseas, and I've just had a lovely dinner with my sister at the Mussel Bar on Friday night, so we didn't make more plans to catch up.

Just to go off on a little tangent: at the restaurant, we used the Entertainment Card and got $40 off the bill! That's two mains and a starter reduced from $76.50 to $36.50. The food was good, and the service was incredibly, memorably efficient and polite. Because of this, and the embarrassingly small amount we had to pay, we decided to leave a tip.

That's right, you heard me--two parsimonious Chinese females actually tipping, in a country where tipping is not the custom (waiters here earn a fairly decent minimum wage, so you can come to Australia and lose the guilty feeling that your waiter cries himself to sleep every night on a bed of hessian sacks and rat droppings).

I won't be totally alone tomorrow night, I'll have Mao AKA His Pampered Bunny Highness with me, and MFC is coming over so that we can have a nice New Year's Day dinner. Shops and restaurants will be closed tomorrow (it's Australia Day as well, a public holiday), so I went to my local Chinese restaurant and got roast duck, roast pork and combination yee mein (birthday or long-life noodles). Hopefully I'll get a phone call from the folks as well.

What else? No cleaning the house, sweeping the floor on New Year's Day, in case you sweep your luck away. No washing hair for the same reason. Something red to wear--check. New shoes--check. That's as far as I bother to take it. I would set off fireworks and firecrackers if I could, but you can't mumblegrumblemumble buy them in Australia.

I know it's just superstition, but I find it fun, following these "rules". They remind me of who I am and where I'm from. (I said something similar to MFC yesterday, about how I like to do these things to remind me I'm Chinese, and he said, "You could just look in the mirror!" Pffft.)

I'll leave you with a movie and some photos of a lion dance from last Chinese New Year.

It was such a great day, and I was fortunate enough to spend it with close family, in the country that I grew up in.

The band gearing up.
A string of firecrackers goes off and then the cymbals and drums start.

Here comes the yellow lion!

And the black one!

A side shot of both.

So what happens is the lions dance all through the house and garden, and then they fall asleep for a while. Using some clever levers and what-nots located in the head of the lion, the man at the lion's head makes the eyelids flutter and the nostrils twitch, while the guy(s) behind him flicks the body to make it look like the lion is taking slow deep breaths.

While all this is going on, the guys inside the lion suit are also doing something very secret, and one day I will get all my photos together and show you what it is.

(I really need a secretary or a PA. Then I'd get all my travel blogging done!)

While the lions are sleeping, kids come up to them and pet them gingerly (or are thrust next to them by parents thinking, Kodak moment! KODAK MOMENT!)

Speaking of pushy parents and Kodak moments ...

"Eeee! Hurry up, mother! This is SO embarrassing!
Are you holding my camera right? Because I'm not posing again!"

Then the lions wake up and accept the offerings of the household: in this case, 8 cans of beer, some green vegetables and lucky fruit, and red packets of money.

A little movie so you can see and hear what it was like to be there.
This is 30MB though, so you decide if it's worth the bandwidth.



Genevieve said...

You're a day ahead of me! At first I thought, OH NO, I'M LATE FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR! But not so, it's not even noon Sunday morning here in Eastern Standard Time ;)

In the US, fireworks are only sold on the 4th of July (Independence Day) in most states. I was pretty disappointed that I can't find at least sparklers to light tomorrow.

Mmmm duck! I just recently discovered how delish it is. Mmmm. Sounds like a nice holiday! :D

Jac said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai !!!! Hope this year brings you lots of abundance and prosperity cuz! With hugs
Jac and Pete xx