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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

农历新年


Well, so much for resolution number one.

I thought that writing about the Chinese New Year's celebrations that we visited at the Buddhist Temple would be interesting. Sitting down to write about it now, though, I realize there is not all that much to say.

There were many, many people - more than I thought there would be. So many people that we were unable to get into the temple for the rituals that marked the beginning of the celebrations. Still, we had fun browsing through the different food stalls and seeing all the strange food that was being sold. Some of it smelled exactly like a fresh heap of manure. People flocked to the stench and sat around eating vile-looking stuff and drinking even viler-looking stuff. Since most of the menus were in Chinese, we could not tell what everything was. Being on Buddhist Temple grounds, however, I'm sure everything had to have been vegetarian.

The festivities started with about a thousand small firecrackers going off. I am glad that we weren't standing very close to them, since they made an enormous racket and gave off clouds of choking sulphuric smoke.

The highlight for me was the dragon dance held in the main Temple courtyard. Even though it was a bit of a tiny dragon, it was quite something to see. The rhythmic music created quite an atmosphere. I liked it when the "dragon" paid its respects to the Buddha by bowing to him three times. The small dragon dance was followed by even smaller dragons that consisted of only two people. Four of them pranced around for a bit before the festivities moved to the guest house, where we watched an interesting "fashion show" of ancient Chinese costumes. "Lucky money" packets were handed out, but we were not lucky. Luckily I am not superstitious, or I may have thought that it was a bad omen for this year.

We bought a tiny Buddha sculpture, delicious White Rabbit toffees (which I have consequently become addicted to) and a bell to chase away evil spirits that we have hung on the front door handle. We had terribly oily spring rolls for lunch.

This is the Chinese year of the Rat. The Rat was welcomed in ancient times as a protector and bringer of material prosperity. It is an animal associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities.

Happy New Year.

PS

The One's brother took us on the excursion, since Donald was still not working after being vandalized while we had been on holiday in December. Another highlight came when we were finally able to start him, after I sucked petrol through the petrol filter and then using The One's brother's car for jump-starting. Apparently, Donald had only run out of petrol and we had made his battery run flat by trying over and over to get him started! The One and his brother think that the petrol was stolen, but I think it simply evaporated in the sun.

Written by I

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