Thursday, January 22, 2009

Modernism vs culture...

Ah...you've got to love and hate celebrations at the same time...this is the time where food takes a strong presence in celebratory festivities...

Chinese New Year (CNY), especially...there is always another reason to put aside one's diet, isn't there...*grin*...These are one of those times when weight-watchers are put to the test...(not me!!!...hehe...)...and most often then not, they fail to prevail...

My holidays have finally started...*yipee!!!*...the excitement mounting, adrenaline pumping...its almost like I am rolling up my sleeves, and getting ready to sprint run...towards the multi-course culinary feast, that is!!!...

My family does not really celebrate CNY in a very big way, though...While neighbours lavishly decorate their houses with traditional red paper lanterns, poetic couplets written on red paper, repaint their houses, etc...mine would just go through the normal routine of giving the house a mega-cleaning up...you hardly see much red in my house...the only tell-tale of the celebration would be the shamelessly large amount of food, stored up for the event...*grin*

(Note : colour RED is believed to be able to scare away evil spirits and bad fortunes)...

If it wasn't for grandma, we wouldn't be observing the taboos and superstitions so strictly...while we have nothing against superstitions, my grandma would create the most embarrassing commotion should we ignore any of them...leaving the entire family all tensed up...so we would usually humour her a little, and try to keep to the taboos as much as we can...

Man, come to think of it, I can barely remember all the superstitions that I was not suppose to forget...erm...
  • purchasing new clothes, enough to last the 14 day celebration (my family only buys enough to last ONE day),
  • no using of scissors and knifes (for fear it will cut away fortune and prosperity),
  • no cleaning of house on the first day of New Year,
  • no washing of hair on the first day New Year as well...(it is believed to be washing away your own luck)...of course, I would insistently argue then...that modern hygenic concerns should and will take precedence over this tradition...hence, have been ignoring this taboo all these years...much to grandma's despair...
  • no purchasing of books as the word 'book' in Cantonese sounds all too similar to the word 'lose'...I almost always forget that, unfortunately...
Of course, there are other superstitions that I hardly keep...bathing myself in pomelo leaves, for example...that is suppose to keep me healthy for the rest of the years...personally, I believe that I am what I 'invest' in me...should I decide to drown myself in whisky and alcohol, increase my junk food consumption, ignore my gym membership, not keep up with personal hygiene, poison myself with cocaine...even bathing myself in a house-fill pomelo leaves and aromatherapy would not save me...

Now that I think of it, I am not sure if living in ignorance and bliss about our Chinese superstitions is actually a good thing...I am not saying that I believe bad luck would befall on me, just because I should forget any of this traditions...but I feel that these traditions outline our Chinese culture...our very identity, brought from the past...

Probably I should try keeping to these superstitions, not just to seal my grandma's nagging...but also with a hope that my children, and my children's children will also have a chance to remember their roots, and have a certain connection with their (almost diminishing) ancient culture...

2 comments:

PATRONUS INCOGNITUS said...

Happy Chinese New Year!..

Lessajinomoto said...

Dear Patronus Incognitus...

Happy Chinese New Year to you too!!...

Btw, did you take your nickname from Harry Potter?

It's really similar to the "Expecto Patronum" charm that he used...Hehe...