The Year of the Golden Ox – Happy New Year!

Year of the Ox

The Chinese New Year Tradition

Chinese New Year, similar to that in many cultures, is a time for family reunion, a time for celebration and a time to indulge in excessive food and drinks.  As many of you may know, Chinese New Year falls in the lunar year instead of the calendar year.  This year on January 26 is the beginning of the Year of Ox.

Chinese New Year, for many of us living outside of China, has been reduced to a distant memory simply because it tends to fall during a week day and there is no legitimate reason for us to take time off from work to observe the holiday.

I know for a fact that right now, millions of Chinese are traveling to their hometown, shopping like there is no tomorrow for food and beverages and cooking up a major storm.

What Was My Recollection of the Holiday?

My fondest memory from childhood includes the anticipation of the New Year’s Day as we would get our red packets from our parents after bowing to them to show our respect and thanks.  The red packet consists of  hard cash. It was also the only time that my siblings and I would get our new clothes for the year.  I recall vividly that my mom would be spending half of the night touching up the garments for us to wear the next day.

The New Year Day always started off with endless fire crackers to ward off the evil spirits.  It is said that whoever has the longest fire crackers would have the best year.  This will be followed by a breakfast.  In where I grew up in the central part of China, the breakfast is typically dumplings (“pot stickers” known to most of Westerners).

The entire holiday week is filled with greetings by family members and friends.  Food is always the focal point for many as there was such a scarcity when I grew up and that’s why I have such an obsession over food throughout my life.

I wish we spent more time with our friends and family in this part of the world.  After all, life should be anchored with these two elements instead of chasing a phantom and materialistic dream.

By the way, for those of you who were born in the Year of Ox, you should wear red under garment throughout the entire year to ward off the evil spirit.  Believe it or not, I have certainly conformed to this tradition.

Did I hear that President Obama was born in the Year of Ox?

One Response to “The Year of the Golden Ox – Happy New Year!”
  1. Brad Says:

    The separation from family can be a hard one to swallow. Sometimes the traditions are so ingrained in our path of normal existence that it isn’t until we are removed from them that you realize how much you miss them.

    Trying to get others who are not part of that tradition involved takes some real effort and preparation. If it just happens it doesn’t have much meaning to them.

    We shall see how the Ox in Obama manifests itself in the near future, this shall be interesting to watch.