There’s lots of visiting going on among the Chinese this week. That’s what they do during Spring Festival. Visit and eat and drink. Toasting and saying cheers, with best wishes for an upcoming prosperous New Year!
Day 5 of Spring Festival is Festival of Po Wu. “So, on this day, people will celebrate with a large dinner. They will also shoot off firecrackers in the attempt to get the attention of the god of fortune, thus ensuring his favor and good fortune for the whole new year.” That explains all the firecrackers today. It started EARLY this morning and went on all throughout the day and then beautiful fireworks again tonight!
Having Chinese Friends means you usually get an invitation to their home during the holidays. This is one of the best things about being an expat…the friendships you make. Today we were invited to Wei Quans and Li Dan Yao’s home to spend the day and she cooked up a feast for us! We also got to meet some of their family. Wei Quan’s younger older sister ( he has two older sisters and one younger brother) and family and his Mother were there. I was especially happy to meet his Mother because Li Dan Yao and Wei Quan care for her all the time and I’ve heard so many stories about Mama. They moved her to a small apartment close to his work so he can be with her everyday, and yet she can still be somewhat independent. She is a very sweet 84 year old lady and it was so nice to meet her.
Wei Quan picked us up at our home at 11am sharp! We went to his home and were introduced to everyone, chatted a bit and then started a game of Mahjong! Mahjong is played all over China and at Chinese New Year, many families play in their homes. David & I don’t play so we learned. Well David played and I watched and Wei Quan instructed us both. Of course I was also busy taking pictures and chatting with the ladies and hugging Mama.
Lots of snacks this afternoon, as there is always lots of treats on the table at New Year ( strawberries, oranges, pineapple (for me because they know I like it) all various kinds of nuts .I also took some homemade chocolate chip cookies with skor bits and fresh out of the oven buttery biscuits. It’s funny because Li Dan Yao and Wei Quan were talking before we came and were thinking (actually hoping) I would bring some Western baking 😀
Jiaozi is always served at Chinese New Year and when it was time to make jiaozi, I got to try. These ladies have excellent skill at jiaozi making. They have been doing it since they were young and their Mother taught them. Something EVERY Chinese daughter needs to learn. So I tried. I really did, and I did OK… I am slow and they are not perfect, and maybe in time and with lots of practice I might get good at it! The ladies were encouraging anyway.
Before eating late this afternoon, we went outside to do the firecrackers. A custom, especially today before the family dinner. Then it was back inside for the delicious family dinner! I love it. Lots of toasts, cheers, delicious AUTHENTIC food. Ohhhh soooo good! And the conversations are interesting. We only understand a little, some gets translated to us, some doesn’t but I like watching and listening and a lot of the time I can understand.
After dinner David and I sat and chatted more with Wei Quan and Mama and then everyone joined us for some more chatting and another game of Mahjong.
Chinese New Year is really not a lot different from our Canadian Christmas. Sure, the food and the traditions are different but the spending quality time with family, chatting, playing games, and eating delicious food is no different!
Today is a day I will never forget, I feel very blessed!
Here are some pictures from our day…