Friday, February 4, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Tsai: Hong Bao Na Lai!

Wishing you prosperity, now gimme my red envelope!

As kids, this was our go to phrase every Chinese New Year because the holiday meant red envelope$ (bonus that it rhymes). Now that it's my first year not eligible for a red envelope on New Year's (marriage disqualifies you... and I'm sure at some point old age might as well...), I've been missing the unofficial traditions I grew up with. Red and gold fu (luck) hung upside down all over our houses to remind us of the new lunar year, lu buo gao (turnip cake) for breakfast, shark fin soup, a plethora of homemade Chinese delicacies, eight treasure sticky rice, and my favorite, fried nian gao (sticky glutinous rice breaded and fried and a homonym for yearly height or every year higher and higher).

To celebrate our first Chinese New Year's as a married couple, we had our own version of Chinese New Year with frozen delicacies - dumplings and onion pancake with homemade dipping sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, chopped garlic, and ground fresh chili paste - I use the Sambal Oelek brand). Of course, it wasn't the same (though traditionally in China, New Year's is always celebrated with dumplings) but Andy sensed my disappointment (plus I pouted and told him my mom had lu buo gao for breakfast and we didn't!) and he offered the blessing of the food. It took me about five seconds to realize he was saying the prayer in Mandarin which brought a smile to my face and behold, a new tradition among our family was established!

Looking forward to next year, I am already resolving (though not a Lunar year celebration tradition) to make my lil rabbit's first Chinese New Year super special. Planning and preparing will aid me in accomplishing this goal (along with three authentic Chinese recipe books from my brother for Christmas) as well the nearby Chinatown, Little Tapei and Arcasia. I can already picture it - he'll be in a mini mian ao with a little cap and a fake braid.

Xing Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year! And here's to the year of the rabbit which is what our lil one will be! Do we think he really will be peaceful, sympathetic, calm, private, classy and trendy? ... Only time will tell!

Here's to new traditions for our family with the new lunar year!


Tammy said...

Oh Mandarin... Gung Hay Fat Choy! The bastardized version of my Cantonese... Happy new years to you both!

Jessica said...

o yeah your little will have all those qualities and more. I mean look at me....I'm all of the above. haha. Miss you guys.