Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Snake


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.

13 comments:

Sober Julie said...

How very beautiful, I love learning about different cultures and I'm sure it will be a lot for little one to truly understand hers.

Christine McN said...

Sober Julie:
I know she's still young, but I want to try to introduce her to as much as I can while she is still young :) It is really important to me.

I made a special wish for you on your special birthday and released a Chinese lantern for you!

Sny Med said...

Happy New Years! What a beautiful evening you had! Your daughter was dressed up beautifully and the food looks great! I love the photos of releasing the paper lanterns. So thoughtful of your hubby to create snowhills with his tractor so the kids could play!

Jenna

Christine McN said...

Sny Med:
We do have a lot of fun in our little corner of the island :) LOL! As you can tell, I love being around those I adore and hold closest to my heart AND I love entertaining! Wish some of my bloggy friends lived closer!!! LOL!

OrangeHeroMama said...

Oh Christine! Looks like you had an amazing time! I would have loved to see the lanterns go up! So cool!!

Torviewtoronto said...

happy new year to you and family

mamawee said...

That looks like so much fun. The lanterns are beautiful!

Country Mouse, City Mouse said...

Beautiful conclusion to this post - and great reminder to not take what we have for granted.

I absolutely love Chinese lanterns. We saw them at Port Elgin last summer, absolutely gorgeous.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Insane Mamacita said...

This is absolutely fabulous Christine! Thank you for sharing your new family traditions with us. That is so great you are sharing your heritage with your family. I love the paper lanterns. The release looks so beautiful!

Happy new year to you all!

Christine McN said...

OHM:
I wish we had thought to take videos of the lanterns going up into the sky! We were all just too excited! LOL! It was such an awesome night.

I'm one of those crazy "I LOVE TO PLAY HOSTESS AND HAVE DINNER PARTIES AT MY HOUSE ALL THE TIME". I thrive on stress. LOL! j/k This wasn't stressful because my friends were so helpful.

Christine McN said...

TorviewToronto:
Thank you so much :)

Christine McN said...

mamawee:
Aww! Thanks! It was indeed a night to remember :) The lanterns were magical!

Julia said...

Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate the new year.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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