Chinese New Year preparations 年廿八洗邋遢
This Saturday is Chinese New Year, and it will be the year of the rat. If you were born in 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, or every 12 years before or after, this is your year.
I don’t really celebrate Chinese New Year (CNY), mainly because its more of a traditional family thing and our families aren’t here. Having said that, I will do a little prep for the new year. Today I went to the supermarket to pick up some groceries. They were selling a lot of CNY decorations including some red packets. People put money inside these red packets or hongbao as they are called in mandarin and give them to kids as a good luck gift. When I was in Hong Kong, most red packet are pretty plain and boring. Many companies give them out free as promotion so their company name and logo is slapped all over it.
These ones in Taiwan are really great and have fun messages printed on top. For example, this one says For the person I love most. I’m sure this will bring a smile to the recipient’s face. But then it says I say this to everyone in smaller letters. How cheeky is that!!!
This one says I love money a lot, but the smaller letters says I love you even more. That is so sweet!!
This says I’m not giving you money, followed by I’m giving you lots of thoughts. That is so true, it’s the thought that really counts.
There were many more differents on sale, but these were just some of my favourite ones. I didn’t get any though as people normally give them to kids here and I don’t know any kids.
這個紅包上有三個字，好～美～女。 無論怎樣讀，都一定愛讓女士很開心 。這個非常有趣。還有這個社會在走，紅包要有。看上雖然沒什麼特別， 但我覺得非常有理，雖然社會向前走，但有些傳統還是可以共存。
Every year, about a month before CNY, we will start to practice writing lucky phrases at the calligraphy classes. These are written on special red paper to hang at home as decorations. I wrote this pair of couplet this year. People usually hang them by the front door, but mine is not good enough to be put on display, I figured I’d get more self-satisfaction if I look at them every day so I put them up by my TV.
A couple of my friends didn’t mind my sub standard work, and asked for some to decorate their home. I was more than happy to oblige of course. The two square ones is the word rat written in an older form of writing. Chinese writing is developed from pictogram, and writing it this way adds a bit of fun to it. Do you think it looks like a rat?
Unlike Christmas, we don’t normally exchange gifts during CNY. However, I wanted to thank my friend who always take me to all the great hikes I post about, the last one was from a month ago. So I got him a box of special meal for when he celebrates the new year with his family. These are become very popular in Taiwan now so people don’t have to cook complicated dishes from scratch
中國人過年，不太像西方聖誕節互送禮物。 但為了答謝朋友經常帶我們去爬山， 我訂了一盒年菜送給他與家人團年 。 而他也非常有心，回贈我一盒手工做肥皂。 在香港過年有句話，年廿八洗邋遢 ， 這個剛好用得上！
My friend was really sweet, and he bought me a box of hand made soap made by a local organisation for the disadvantaged. These are cold press soap and come in three different fragrance, herbs, ginger and bamboo charcoal. I’m looking forward to try them all out when tradition says I have to cleanse myself for the Chinese New Year!!!