|sienna, ruby, bella and emme jade!|
though we have no immediate plans to follow the zodiac calendar or worship our ancestors, there is much about the chinese culture to celebrate. and that's what we did saturday night. we aren't going to be adding buddha to our home anytime soon, there will be no following of multiple gods or reverence for the dragon...but we can pull out the artful aspects of china's opulent beauty and we can very much celebrate the place of our daughters' birth. one of my favorite things on saturday night was when our friend, michelle, brought us a lovely hostess gift. in our gift she also included a red envelope for each of our children (my 5 and diana's 4). inside each envelope she had placed a two dollar bill (giving money to children on this holiday is customary), but on the outside of the envelope she had taken the time to write "Jesus loves you" in chinese. the ancient chinese ancestors might not like that, but we sure loved it!
i'm glad we pushed ourselves along with this party plan. it wasn't completely easy. with two of my girls sharing an early february birthday, there's a part of me which feels all party-ed out this month -- understandably. but, again, i'm pleased we found the margin to make this happen. it was worth every detailed list or late night. and it was such a blast to work with a kindred party planning buddy -- thanks diana rouse! so this week my thoughts and plans moved rapidly from pink tulle (bella's ballet party -- last saturday) to red silk. i've included some interesting tidbits about this holiday and a few photos (the really good photos are from diana's camera) from our party. i hope you enjoy!
a few facts about the chinese new year:
Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere.
bella may be our only chinese child, but she's significant enough for us to celebrate!
It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck.
well, we really don't believe in the ideas of "luck" and "fortune"...but i am absolutely a big fan of a thorough house cleansing. i am not sure we swept away any ill-fortune, but i did have a great big pile of dog hair when i finished with my broom!
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in snake years are wise, charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, and smart.so, i guess that explains the snake. he must have been one of the 12 animals hanging out with buddha. a few other animals attending the buddha meeting were the rat, ox, dragon and pig....personally i wouldn't have incorporated rats or snakes, i think we could have come up with some other, more charming creatures, but okay. whatever. we'll go with it. bella, by the way, is the year of the rat. i know this because her orphanage gave us a statue with a rat on it. it was a nice thought, but needless to say, the rat statue isn't on display in her bedroom.
yes. we embraced this part with great enthusiasm. (did someone say "decorating???") lots and lots of red and gold. i ordered paper lanterns and then even ordered some more...because can you ever have enough paper lanterns? remind me to tell you the story sometime about how i wrangled rick into hanging them for me. "a little to the left...no, honey, a little to the right...a little higher...no, a little lower." we were able to hang exactly 3 together before he, in order to save our marriage, carefully removed himself from the dining room and my gigantic pile of lanterns. what can i say, i had a vision...
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.
i hadn't thought at all about fireworks, but thankfully our good friends, leslie and greg robertson, were on it. greg brought his supply and shot a few off for the kids down on the lake. by the way, please don't tell my boys about the bamboo stalks of fire custom ...they'd be all over that one... and knowing us, we'd probably end up burning away more than just some bad luck.
so, that's it. that was chinese new year 2013. what i loved most about this evening was the fun. it was a really fun night watching so many different people come together. it was a blessing to see friends who had probably never attended a chinese new year party stop by and celebrate with great enthusiasm...not because they are necessarily connected to the chinese new year, but because they have a connection with our families -- and that's something worth celebrating for sure!
feeling really blessed tonight as i write this...blessed...(and i'll admit) a little bit exhausted.
and just in case you were wondering...next year...it's the year of the horse. giddy up! let the party planning begin!
GUNG HAY FAT CHOY y'all!
almond tea cookies. we made these. yes, yes we did.
diana and i got together on friday for some chinese cooking in my kitchen. we were especially proud of our asian dumplings AKA "pot stickers." they weren't the prettiest pot stickers ever to grace a chinese table (thus, we didn't photograph them)...but they were super yummy!
i took these photos the next morning. we had several inches of snow that night and throughout the day... snow tipped chinese lanterns....minnesota style!