Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Epic Holiday with the Kuo Family

The most important days of the year: Chinese New Year Eve and Day. I was able to spend them with my good friend Tricia Kuo's family.

The Kuos are a very modern Taiwanese family; They don't really believe in many of the auspicious things that most other families believe in. But meeting the entire crew and spending the biggest holiday of the year was still quite a treat!

The biggest event: The New Year's Eve Dinner

A few extended family members and friends came to join us. The feast ignited with 'cheers' of Asian  vodka, my Sprite, while shouting 新年快樂! xīn nián kuài lè (Happy New Year)!

On the menu:
Giant fish
Jellyfish tentacles
Pig feet
Raw sausage
Red, well mostly pink, meat                            
Lots of tentacles and parts of sea creatures
                                    A Slew of other things they couldn't translate : )

And yes, I was given everything. I sat quietly drumming my fingers on my lap thinking mind over matter. Supposedly a lot of those foods are eaten to improve your complexion; I am incredulously reviewing that idea while staring at my acne.

Other events from the holiday:

-Red Envelopes with money are handed out to the elders and children. Much to my surprise, I received envelopes from the family!


-Tricia taking care of my skin with all her many products.

-Enjoying lunch in view of a beautiful lake.

-Giddy about driving through the mountains

-Visiting historic Chiang Kai-Shek parks and museums all afternoon

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!

Just a few of the culture's beliefs revolving around the New Year:

-Lady in Red: Wow, I haven't ever seen so many colors. All these bright colored decorations bring good luck but it is the color red that is considered the ultimate luck bringer.

-Play till Late: Go to sleep past midnight on new year’s eve to ensure your parents will have a longer life.

-"I'll Have Some More, Please": The longer it takes you to eat your new year's eve dinner, the longer your life will be.

-Boom, Pow, Crackle: Set off fire crackers to welcome the new year and to chase away evil spirits.

-Balance the Books: Repay all your debts before the new year. Otherwise, you will be owing others all through the year.

-Dirty Doings: Put your feet up and relax. Certainly the most enjoyable of the Chinese New Year superstitions, sweeping and cleaning is strictly forbidden. The Chinese believe cleaning means you'll sweep all of your good luck out the front door.

-Coming Clean: Preceding the prior, you need to give the house a full spring clean, before putting cleaning tools in the cupboard on New Year's Eve.

The Berhan Chinese New Year Show

The entire Berhan Language Institute put on a new year production. Some results from the show:

Below: The kiddies are performing to the most current popular radio song in Taiwan- groovin the moves from the music video.