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Happy Year of the Ox!

Posted: Saturday, January 24, 2009 By Ni Hao Books

Year of the Ox!

As we approach the Chinese New Year, let us from Ni Hao Books wish you a healthy and prosperous year! New Year’s Day will be on Monday, January 26th this year, and it will be the year of the Ox.

I haven’t been able to celebrate New Year in China for almost 20 years. Many of my favorite things in childhood are related to the New Year festivities. In Southern China, especially Guangzhou where I grew up, buying fresh flowers from the flower market is a big event before New Year’s Day. It isn’t common for people to normally buy flowers to decorate their homes during the rest of the year, unlike Americans who have access to flower shops even within grocery stores. So as the New Year approaches, for weeks before hand, vendors selling fresh flowers spring up everywhere in Guangzhou. One street on the bank of the Peal River is converted to a flower market. All kinds of flowers are sold such as daisies, roses, lilies, tulips, peach flower, and Chrysanthemums. Those flowers are used to decorate homes, bringing a sense of spring and a festive atmosphere. Many people also buy kumquats in pots which are supposed to bring luck and wealth.

I also loved the red pockets. As a child growing up, I never got an “allowance”, so this was one of few opportunities for me to receive money. I’m sure my parents were not too excited about it since they had to give red pockets away!

New Year’s Eve is a huge event. Families and friends gather together sharing a big meal with lots of dishes. Fish is usually one of them since it signifies abundance. Everyone gathers around the dinner table and watches the New Year variety show on TV while eating dinner. The show usually goes on for 5 hours, with dancing, singing, comedy, skits and greetings from overseas Chinese. When it gets closer to midnight, firecrackers start going off. I remember that by the time midnight hits, the cracking of firecrackers was so loud that we had to cover our ears! Then on New Year’s Day, I woke up to a set of new clothes signifying a new beginning.

Oh, how fun it was and still is. If you ever have a chance, I highly recommend traveling to China, especially Guangzhou, during Chinese New Year. I plan on taking my kids there someday. But for now, we will watch the variety show on YouTube.

To celebrate Chinese New Year, Ni Hao Books is offering 5% off your entire purchase! Use discount code “moo” (Expires Feb 28, 2009). Also, standard free shipping (no code necessary) applies to any order over $20. Shop Now!

Xin Nian Kuai Le! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

 

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