Steve's China Blog

Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy Chinese New Years!

Saturday night was Chinese New Years eve and I was going to get together with a few people from the office and go out to eat that night, but someone there found out we were going out to a restaurant and invited us to his home. It's much more traditional to have dinner at home with family and friends. I think his wife must have expected him to do this since she had a lot of food prepared and having eight guests show up at the last minute was not a problem.

For dinner we had a shrimp and veggie stir fry, some very large steamed shrimp, fried oysters, baked scallops, steamed clams, baked fish, duck, chicken, cucumber and noodles mixed, and two soups... one a noodle with an egg, and one with pork and mushrooms. It was a wonderful meal. All of the dishes have some meaning, such as happiness for the new year, togetherness, health and longevity, etc...

Besides the meal we watched a special on TV. CCTV (Central China TV) has nine channels here and most of them were showing a variety show to celebrate the New Years from 8:00pm until 12:30am, and almost everyone in China watches that. Since most of us don't speak Chinese that well (most of our group was from the Philippines) we ended up chatting most of the night rather than watching the TV.

Around 11:00pm our hostess started preparing dumplings and we talked her into letting us help make them. It took a little while but some of us got real good at making dumplings. At midnight some of us went outside and shot off fireworks and after midnight we ate the dumplings. The dumplings are for good fortune.

About 12 years ago the goverment decided that fireworks were too dangerous and outlawed citizens from shooting them off... for their own safety (sound familiar?). Anyways, the people were so upset about this and complained for so long that the goverment finally repealed that law a year or two ago, and now the people go all out when it comes to shooting off fireworks. The fireworks going off above Dalian started at midnight and it was incrediable! Not one patch of sky above Dalian was devoid of fireworks. I have never seen so many fireworks going off all at once and for so long. It was even more impressive than the last few fireworks shows over Baghdad. Talk about shock and awe. :)


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