RuthAnne Tarletz de Molina
10 Additional Lessons I Learned From 50 to 60
51 Don’t make lists
52 If you’re stubborn enough to make a list, don’t lose it
53 The sun shines on the good and the bad
54 No one is perfect, least of all me
55 Smile at everyone, we all need smiles
56 Hug everyone, we all need hugs
57 Don’t ask God for patience, He’ll give you trials to acquire it
58 Some questions don’t need to be answered or even acknowledged
59 Let people vent, but know when to go
60 Celebrate your 60th birthday at least a month
Hola Todos – With that out of the way, I’m going to talk a bit about the 15 day Chinese New Year Celebration that will end with the Lantern Festival on March 3. As you know, if you have been following my newsletters, we are talking about this here because of the joint history of the Chinese and the Spanish settlers at El Pueblo, Olvera Street. This weekend there will be a parade beginning at El Pueblo and ending in Chinatown, but more about that later. On to some information about celebrating the Chinese New Year.
The first day of the Lunar New Year is "the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth." Many people abstain from meat on the first day of the New Year because it is believed that this will ensure long and happy lives for them. The first order of business is offering ritual homage to one's ancestors. Reverence is then paid to the gods, followed by younger family members paying their respects to their living elders. New clothes are worn, and visits are made to friends, neighbors, and relatives to exchange good wishes of kung-hsi fa-tsai, which means "congratulations and prosperity." As an occasion for reconciliation, it's a time when old grudges are cast aside amidst an atmosphere of warmth and friendliness.
On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs. Also on the second day married daughters return to their parents' home. If she is a newlywed, her husband must accompany her and bring gifts for her family.
The third and fourth days are for the sons-in-laws to pay respect to their parents-in-law. According to a charming legend, the third day of the lunar New Year is the day when mice marry off their daughters. Thus, on that night, people are supposed to go to bed early so that the mice can perform their wedding ceremonies.
On the fourth day, the fervor begins to ebb. In the afternoon, people prepare offerings of food to welcome the return of the Kitchen God and his retinue from their trip to the Jade Emperor's court. The Kitchen God's return signifies the end of freedom from spiritual surveillance, hence the popular Chinese saying: "It's never too early to send off the gods & never too late to invite them back."
The fifth day, called Po Woo, is when people stay home to welcome the God of Wealth. No one visits families and friends on the fifth day because it will bring both parties bad luck. Day five almost brings the Chinese New Year festivities to a close. All offerings are removed from the altars and life returns to normal.
On the sixth to the 10th day, the Chinese visit their relatives and friends freely. They also visit the temples to pray for good fortune and health.
The seventh day of the New Year is the day for farmers to display their produce. The farmers make a drink from seven types of vegetables to celebrate the occasion. The seventh day is also considered the birthday of human beings. Noodles are eaten to promote longevity and raw fish for success.
On the eighth day the Fujian people have another family reunion dinner, and at midnight they pray to Tian Gong, the God of Heaven.
Finally, on the ninth day, numerous offerings are set out in the forecourt or central courtyard of temples to celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor, who was believed to have been born immediately after midnight on the ninth day.
The 10th through the 12th are days that friends and relatives should be invited for dinner.
After so much rich food, on the 13th day you should have simple rice congee and mustard greens (choi sum) to cleanse the system.
The 14th day should be for preparations to celebrate the Lantern Festival, which is to be held on the 15th night. And of which we will speak more next week.
So where does one go here to touch a taste of this celebration? To El Pueblo, Olvera Street, of course. As we said before both the Chinese and the Spanish cultures of LA have ties to this area. The Chinese American Museum is even housed there and next week they’ll host the Lantern Festival. The 108th Annual Golden Dragon Parade will start at El Pueblo on Saturday and will end in Chinatown where on Saturday there’ll be the Chinese New Year Festival & on Sunday a Car Show. Then you should leave the festival early and head over to Self Help Graphics and Art for a very special exhibit, 2nd Edition: A Father/Daughter Print Retrospective that features the works of Frank and Sonia Romero, father and daughter.
Where are the Chicana/o artists this weekend/next week?
This Chicana artist is still celebrating her 60th birthday and just got back from Baja. Shalom, RuthAnne Tarletz de Molina
Where will you be???