KUNG HEI FAT CHOI! It’s Chinese New Year: The Year of the Snake!
Last year, we invited our friends and family over to our farm to celebrate with us. We felt it would be great to inject come culture into our lives. Our daughter has no real connection to her roots yet, and I wanted to plant some meaning in her mind so she could have some kind of reference point when it comes to who she is and where she comes from. Of course, being born in Canada, she is Canadian. However, her roots are so multifaceted and diverse, and so very beautiful. The stories behind who she is are amazing.
I grew up not knowing much about my Chinese heritage. Because I grew up in Montreal, my parents thought it was more important for my brothers and I to speak French rather than Chinese or Tagalog (a Filipino dialect). The only things I knew about being Chinese were that as a child, you must always respect your elders, never speak unless spoken to, older people gave kids red envelopes with money in them, and you must know how to use chopsticks like a pro.
It would have been nice to learn more of the history and practices of this part of my culture. This is why we hosted our second annual Chinese New Year celebration at our farm this year. Friends and family gathered at our homestead and shared a wonderful potluck dinner of Sweet and Sour Pork, Hot and Sour Soup, Rice with Chinese sausage, salads, veggies, vegetarian spring rolls, pork-filled spring rolls, Chinese dumplings (chicken, pork, and shrimp), fish, and oranges for dessert.
One of our guests brought Japanese sushi. Not part of the Chinese New Year menu, but a welcome addition. We love sushi. Hers was an adaptation of the California roll.
It was just great to have everyone together. Great food, company, and conversation. It was beautiful. The adults had a wonderful time talking and the children had fun playing. After dinner, we went outside and lit Chinese lanterns and released them into the night sky. It was a spectacular sight!
One of our guests brought fireworks for the occasion as well and we stood outside and watched. It was such a fabulous evening. The children played outside in the snow. Hubby made huge snow mountains for them with the tractor and the kids had fun climbing and sliding down. The crisp Winter air and the star-filled sky reminded me of my childhood when I used to play out in the snow at night with my brothers, cousins, and friends. It was a time when it was considered ‘safe’ for kids to play outside and unsupervised back then.
As we released the paper lanterns into the sky, we were supposed to make a wish.
My wish already came true. For the most part, I live a charmed life. I just need to remind myself of that sometimes. Though at times life seems like the odds are insurmountable, we really are blessed.
Tonight definitely reminded me of just how fortunate we are.