I decided this year that I would follow (at least partially) the traditions of the Chinese and many other older, non-Western cultures and take two days off for the lunar new year. It seemed a bit strange for me, especially since I'm marrying into a Chinese family (albeit a fairly non-traditional one at that), to have almost three weeks off for Christmas and Gregorian calendar new year, and no days off for the Lunar New Year (which most non-modern cultures celebrated or still celebrate). So here I am, at home at 10am on a Thursday morning, blogging and checking email (personal, not work!) and Facebook.
It's been interesting learning more about Chinese and lunar (no, they aren't they same) new year over the years from friends and from H.'s family. The family dinner thing, the red decorations and flowers/plants, the firecrackers, the different Chinese astrological signs (I'm a pig, myself, which I love being) and how non-Chinese people also celebrate the holiday. For the first time ever, I think, H. and I actually cleaned up a bit last night (Chinese believe you're not supposed to clean at all on this special day, because you'll be washing away all your good luck), and today we'll both be wearing red. We had our own version of a New Year's Even dinner last night at Golden Lotus in downtown Oakland, a completely vegan, faux meat joint that would most likely displease our Asian relatives for a special occasion meal (no meat! That's not a real meal!), but worked out fine for me and H.
I'm going to blog a bit more on the wedding blog about tradition, culture, and how bringing our two families and individual ways of doing things has been a both joyous and difficult process for me and the fiance.
But in the meantime, let me just say, 'Gong Xi Fa Cai!' (pronounced, roughly 'GONG-shee-FAH-chai) which is the traditional Mandarin greeting for 'Happy New Year!' May the Year of the Rat bring us all peace, prosperity, health and happiness.