Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

by Pam Ripling

A little late, you say? Not for Chinese New Year! Traditionally, the New Year begins with the first New Moon and ends with the first Full Moon, in this case, February 9th. And it just so happens that I will be visiting friends and family in Singapore during that time, so will get to celebrate FIRST HAND!

I just learned some very interesting things about CNY. I was reading THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE by Amy Tan (you remember her, from THE JOY LUCK CLUB?) Well, anyway, the characters in KITCHEN GOD celebrate the New Year and the main character, who is a little girl at the time, describes all the hard work that goes into preparing for the holiday, and how symbolic each act is. First, the home must be cleaned top to bottom before New Year's Day. No dust or dirt must be allowed to carry over into the new year. Note: You may not sweep the dirt out the front door of the home, else you are sweeping away all the good fortune of the family.

All debts must be paid up. All items needing mending must be repair. The symbolism comes into play here - a hole in the bottom of your pocket could allow all your luck to escape; a frayed sleeve can mean your happiness could unravel in the coming year.

There should be no tears on new years, else the one crying will be crying all year. For this reason, parents are usually more lenient with their children during this time.

I enjoyed reading about these customs and traditions, and it makes me think that we could take a lesson. Would it not be a great thing to, once a year, reset your life back to middle? Get rid of all the junk, all the broken, all the dirty, all the IOU's, and start fresh, setting a tone for the rest of the year?

Pam Ripling is the author of middle grade mystery, LOCKER SHOCK! Buy it at Quake!

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