Friday, January 27, 2017

恭喜发财 (Gōngxǐ fācái | gong-hey faa-chwhy)

Miriam's class has been studying the Chinese New Year this week (last week they did a unit on Sweden's May Day celebrations—complete with learning a dance and some phrases in Swedish (Miriam's teacher is Swedish)) and she has come home gushing about the holiday every day this week.

On Wednesday while we were hiking she was rambling on and on about the twelve zodiac animals. She'd looked everyone in the family up. Daddy's a rat. She and I are oxen. Rachel is a pig. Benjamin is a dragon—that's the very luckiest! And Zoë is a goat. And the New Year celebration lasts fifteen days. And there are firecrackers and lion dancers and sometimes dragons. Do you think we could make a dragon? We could just use an old sheet and paint it red. They're usually red. Apples and oranges are eaten to bring good fortune.

"And you'll really like this part, Mom," she said. "They make the house spotless, clean it from top to bottom!"

"That part does sound pretty good," I said (though I'm rather fond of the dancing lions and dragons, myself).

"Why did you have to say that?" Rachel glowered, imagined chores souring her attitude.

"So do you think we can celebrate? I'll make the dragon if you'll make the fortune cookies! And..."

She was off again, making holiday plans faster than I could put a lid on them.

So we planned to have a Chinese-themed dinner tonight. We made orange chicken and ate with chopsticks. We had oranges for good fortune, and Andrew stopped to pick up some fortune cookies on his way home from work.

Miriam also brought home supplies for Benjamin to make his own dragon mask:

She'd made one at school and excitedly explained to Ms. G that Benjamin was born in the year of the dragon, so Ms. G told Miriam to pick up an extra set of supplies for Benjamin (who has spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the classroom while I volunteer, so he's on pretty good terms with Ms. G).

They happily worked on it together after school. I'm sure tomorrow they'll break out the spare sheets to turn themselves into a long, undulating, fire-breathing dragon, which will be a real treat because I haven't seen a good lion/dragon dance in years!

(Perhaps this year will bring my children the good fortune of new felt pens because the ones we have at home are obviously running dry...)

1 comment:

  1. No dragons in our family. Ezra, Sam and I are monkeys. Jason a snake. Grace a dog, Sadie and ox, and aylin a bunny :)