Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Year's, Take 2

It was our third Chinese New Year in Singapore, and oh, how we’ve adapted. Last year we tossed yu sheng a number of times, watched the Chingay parade, and immersed ourselves in the colors and crowds and noise of Chinatown at night. This year, apparently, we’ve become so blasé about it that, aside from a leisurely daytime stroll through the Chinatown stalls, we hardly did any outside celebrating at all.
It wasn’t entirely our fault.
We scheduled our vacation around the neighborhood CNY potluck, only to have them change the date at the last minute; and our traditional steamboat (huo guo) celebration with close friends was cancelled when the hostess got the flu. (None of this got us off the hook with our friends’ children, though - they all got their hong bao anyway!)

But as it happened, we did most of our celebrating at home, where we finally succumbed to our friends’ pleas to put more decorations up. With just a short few weeks between Christmas and CNY this year, we went straight from the Christmas tree to the “CNY tree” – a vase full of long pussy-willow branches, decorated with a couple of hanging goldfish ornaments. We bought a cute little kumquat tree, too, which reminded us of the oranges people like to exchange this time of year. And we put a couple of lanterns with the fu character (“blessing, good fortune”) out front.

We took down the lanterns at the official close of the holiday two weeks later, and we threw out the pussy-willow branches when (appropriately enough) the cat got interested in the puffy white blossoms. But we’ve still got our kumquat tree to remind us of the golden glow of the Chinese New Year.

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