Thursday, July 31, 2008

No Escape...

The culture that comes from my roots never cease to amaze me...I would have thought that my family, being a Christian for three generations now, would not have taken nor subscribe to all these 'superstition' seriously...but boy, was I wrong...

Even till now, my grandmother would scream the house down every Chinese New Year(CNY)...trying to get us to comply and submit to those superstitions...for two weeks before the celebration, the whole extravaganza and show of cooking will start...because it is according to Chinese traditions, that it is a taboo, to use knifes during the first day of CNY, just in case we 'cut' of our prosperity and good luck...

We would have the house spick and span before the big day comes, as it is believed that we would be sweeping and wiping away our fortunes, should we clean on the first day of CNY. Even if we were to sweep the house the following days, we would have to sweep it inwards, so that no harm will follow...dust and rubbish would have to be taken off the back door...

Grandmother is especially particular, insisting that everything we use would need to be new...new clothes, new tableware (yes, that includes plates, bowls, fork and spoon...so you can imagine the pile of plates accumulated till now)...I remember that there was a time, when my grandma made a ruckus, when I used a used plate to serve my dad rice...I wasn't aware of that 'golden rule' then...and my dad, stressed up by all her screaming since morning...chewed me up real good in front of my other family members...I left the dinner table, all hurt and confused...didn't think what the big deal was, that ended up me getting scolded that bad...of course, all of us knew that my dad was at the snapping point then, and my situation was the prefect trigger...I had a good cry...and my dad apologized to me later...I remember it clearly even now...it was the first time my dad ever said that he was sorry...and I found it easier to forgive...

We start the firecrackers going by midnight...Legend has it, that a red dragon is due to come at the strike of midnight of CNY, and firecrackers were meant to scare them away...tradition keeps us going from there...Others say that it is a way to celebrate the coming of a new year...and also give the old year a great send-off...

One would have thought that as time progresses, we would have abandoned these traditions and customs in exchange for new thoughts...I have had my share of scoffing at these traditions...but I now realized, that in keeping these practices, even though we may not believe these superstitions...reminds me of my past, how I have come to be...and most of all, a sense of identity...something that I have in common with the rest of the Chinese community...that keeps me going...

1 comment:

Duncan said...

It's been a few weeks since I looked at your blog Emily, you seem to have been busy. This post was very thoughtful. Keep up the good work.