Thursday, February 7, 2008

chinese new year, year of the rat

it is a new year and i am hoping the year of the rat bodes a good one. it is tradition during new year to give the children "lucky money." the money is placed in bright red envelopes. i remember being a kid and totally just collecting these red envelopes and counting the crisp dollars. i felt like a millionaire, not realizing that 20 bucks was not that much, but to a kid. the list was endless. i could buy smurfs, hello kitty pencils, more comic books, perhaps buy that voltron set i wanted, particularly the blue lion.

new year is always filled with the chatter of my family, extended family and friends. lanterns are lit and hung up. gold and red lanterns. red envelopes are given out. moon cake is cut into to precise little pieces. you only eat this cake for new year. hit the stores now and i bet it is all gone, empty shelves. the candy of dried coconut, happy plums, and ginger are laid out for guests.

when i was little, my sister and i would wear the our ao dai (traditional vietnamese clothing, a long dress with slits on the side with wide pants). mine was yellow with white pants. we would feel all fancy and special with our cheeks full of ginger and plum candies and our lucky money!

i am trying to organize a dinner tonite in good old chinatown with friends. next weekend will be a huge feast with my family. with such good weather in february, i would love to eat some egg noodle soup and perhaps stop at my fave asian mart and give this little girl who bags my groceries some lucky money so she can start the year of the rat in style and with some luck!

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