February 8 marks the dawn of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year and the Ricepaper team would like to wish you, Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Having missed out on the last five CNY celebrations back home in Singapore, this time of the year brings back several memories of pineapple tarts, the chitter-chatter of relatives, the joy of receiving red packets, and sharing the traditions in school with friends of other cultures. Traditions may vary with every family, but all would be familiar with the giving of oranges at a family reunion, the exchange of hong baos and gratitude, and the atmosphere of ringing in good fortune. Now, I haven’t been in Vancouver long but I can see that this city respects such traditions, and I think it is good fortune in itself that we are able to celebrate this festival so far from where it originated. The distance serves us a gentle reminder to be grateful for all the wonderful things we hope to achieve during the year, while understanding that it is not just luck that reels in the big fish. We work hard, we persevere through every struggle, and we make the difficult yet necessary sacrifices.
By the accident of fortune a man may rule the world for a time, but by virtue of love he may rule the world forever.
– Lao Tzu
And when I say “we,” I mean not only the Chinese, but also those who are open to the ideas and beliefs that the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) upholds. Cultures widely differ on what they believe in, but there will always be something you can relate to.
Besides, some beliefs can be quite fun. Understandably the colour red, as a symbol of fire, is believed to ward off evil, which is why most are inclined to wear red clothes during the festival. 2016 may be a Year of the Monkey but unfortunately it doesn’t spell fortune for those born in Years of the Monkey, so they’ve been advised to wear red underwear, even though red is one of their unlucky colours. Ain’t that a dilemma. Also, remember going to the zoo as a kid and seeing a baboon for the first time? Remember being so intrigued and curious at their bright red bubble butt staring back at you? Well, I’m not so much drawing a line as I am just putting an image in your head. Happy New Year!
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