As an ABC, there are many Chinese/Taiwanese holidays that I don’t know about or celebrate (unless my mom reminds me). But Lunar New Year is one that I really cherish. I love the food and the symbolism behind the dishes. I love the superstitions about cutting your hair and sweeping your floor. And as a child, I really loved getting a red envelope 🧧. This was a strange and sad start to the lunar new year so because it’s on my mind and because I don’t have a lot of time to write, here are a few random thoughts.
This was a rare new year celebration when I didn’t eat my mom’s home cooking. She is an amazing cook year-round, but she really pulls out the stops for the new year, making sure to include all the dishes we need for a prosperous and joyful year. Unfortunately, she’s been dealing with some ankle issues and didn’t have the stamina to do the traditional cooking. When my parents’ church friends invited them over, they quickly took up the offer. My sisters and brother were off in other towns celebrating with their own families. Actually my sisters were each busy celebrating the birthdays of a friend and an in-law separately. I did my best to make some dishes for my husband and myself: noodles for long life, a whole fish for prosperity, shiitake mushrooms for new opportunities, and cabbage for more prosperity, along with bacon for wealth. We didn’t have rice cake for good luck, but I think mochi donuts count. It was strange not to have more family with us.
New Year’s morning arrived and instead of texts with fireworks and messages of good fortune, I had several texts asking if I was okay. There was a shooting in a nearby town, a town that is predominantly Asian. I read the details of the deadly attack with a heavy heart. Tradition dictates that New Year’s day should be spent with a positive attitude and joy to set the tone for the rest of the year. Not an auspicious start to the year of the rabbit. Sadly, many assumed it was a hate crime. That’s the world we live in. Of course, what actually happened is no less tragic.
The year of the rabbit is supposed to be marked with hopefulness and peace. I hope that as time progresses this turns out to be true, but watching the news sure doesn’t feel like it.