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Returning home this afternoon from celebrating my ancient sisters 40th birthday I was treated to a wonderful greeting from my friend Catherine. Catherine, who lives in Malaysia and soon will be celebrating the Chinese New Year beginning on January 31st.
On New Year’s Eve her and her family will celebrate with a family reunion dinner. Then on the first day of the Chinese New Year they will become vegetarian for a day (Her family tradition). Chinese New Year is the most festive season of China. Celebrations will consist of lion and/or dragon dance performances on the streets, people will be playing with firecrackers and fireworks adorned in new clothes to celebrate a grand new year, and to leave all the bad and old things behind.
Children will be happy as they will receive a red packet called “Hong Bao” (meaning red package). Red envelopes are gifts presented at social and family gatherings. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Red packets are normally given to by married couples to single people, especially children.
On the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year, the Chinese Valentine’s Day is celebrated. And this year it falls on the same day as the American Valentine’s Day. Catherine excitedly writes “Many couples are excited for this as many of them will get married on this day.
I am extremely fascinated by other cultures and customs. Even though I have never been to China or Malaysia for that fact, I feel somewhat connected through the writings of my friends.