Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Letter from a Student - Spring Festival

Dear Jane and Roger,
How is everything going there? The new year is coming, happy new year!
I have come home for five days already. Things are fine. I am long for coming back home. To be true, I didn't have a good time in the hospital for the first three weeks. Everything is new. For the department is smaller than before, people seem to be in a stew. Something changes, though not1 apparently.In the last few days before we came back home, everybody seems blundering and cannot wait to start off. I try to be calm and happy in those days. And so do they, I guess. Now, we are at home finally. I should and I do feel very happy.

Everybody is busy at preparing for the Spring Festival. We buy lots of canjdy,new dress and spring festival couplets. We buy plentiful vegetables and meets for the festival. That is traditional. We have lots of dishes during the Spring Festival. Generally, the first big meal begin at the night of the last day of the old year.let me see, we have tofu, it represents good fortune in the next year. We have fish, in Chinese, the pronunciation sounds like the meaning that things are enough and spare in this year as well as the next year. We have chicken, in the same way, it has the similarly pronunciation of another word which means everythings goes well. We also have many other dishes,they all have certain meanings. Now I cannot remember all of them, but I will tell you after that big meal.

In the last three or four days of this year, every family will make lots of steamed bread,usually two or three pots. Each pot can contain twenty or so steamed bread. We will have them during the festival. We treat our relatives and guests with them. We will make hundreds of dumplings in these days.Similarly, we eat part of them. The other part, we will treat our relatives and guests.

We will fry the fishes in advance. Then we can pick them out and re-heat them and fate our guests in short time. It is easy. Because we will have many relatives coming to our home and wish us happy new year. Generally, guests will come one by one from the first day of the new year to the fifth or seventh day. Traditionally, the second or the third day of the new year is the day for daughters coming home with their husbands and children. Relatives will pay a vist to each other in those days. For example, my relative A come to my home on the first day, then my father and my uncles will call on them on the forth or fifth day.That is funny and lovely.

Back to the theme.We will do spring-cleaning on the off year.Diferent places have diferent customes. I will show you some pictures.You will see the rich activities we do on that day. In my hometown, we do the spring-cleaning and sacrifice to the kitchen God.We have dumplings on that day,too. By the way, I think you must know that in China , on the night of Spring Festival, almost every family will see Spring Festival Gala together. It ends at 24:00. That means the first day of the new year.After the Spring Festival Party (Spring Festival Gala),we have dumplings for the fist meal of the new year. Do you still remember we have told you that we will put some special things in the dumplings. That is for this meal. We put some coins,sweets,jujubes in the dumplings. If you eat coins, it means you will make big money in the new year. If you have sweets or jujubes, it means you will feel sweet and happy in the new year,as like as having honey. We do this every year and we feel excited when somebody have them.

After the first meal, adult sons will wish their parents Happy New Year with their wife and children. The grandparents will give the young children some money,that is money given to children as a lunar New Year gift. Children like that part of the festival.

Well, in our village,we will call on our nearby relatives and good friends then. Generally, men and little kids do that for their family. The old and women will stay at home and wait for their guests. Then you will meet many people on the streets. That is funny.
Oh, another important thing. Everybody will put on their new dress before 24:00. Then we wish everybody happy new year.We will have them on for the next three or four days, and when we visit our relatives.
Well, I will tell you more thins next time. I think you will be very interested in them.
I miss you VERY MUCH. Wish both of you happy everyday.