Spring Festival in China, Chinese New Year in U.S.

This post is part of the Chinese New Year Blog Hop 2016 hosted by Two Americans in China. A blog hop centers around a single topic and allows readers to discover new blogs.Check out the other blogs at the bottom of this post!

You might have heard a few things about Chinese New Year already. You’ve probably heard about the firecrackers and maybe even the money in red envelopes that older members of the family give to young children to celebrate the festival.

And as you would expect with a major family festival, it involves a big family meal and trips to see relatives.

But there are seven other things about the Spring Festival that are less widely-known, so with the new year upon us, I want to take a look at some of the aspects of the festival I learned about when I lived in Xi’an that you might not know about. You can always read all about the first Spring Festival (it just so happened to be my very first blog post).

I’ll also share how we celebrate 春节, Spring Festival, since we now live in the U.S.

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Talking About Hanukkah in Chinese

 

Adopting traditions to ring in the Chinese New Year in the US prove just as valuable as adhering to the tradition of gorging on latkes during Hanukkah while living in Xi’an, China.

Tradition moved me enough to host hanukkah gatherings every year, starting with hauling several pounds of potatoes and onions from the market, grating them using the stainless steel tower-like grater I used for cheese the remaining 364 days (or when I could afford to buy cheese from Metro), and then hoping the Chinese kitchen god would grant my fingers safe passage.

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Surprise! Seven Chinese Cities I’ve Never Visited

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Credit: Mike Behnken

1. Hong Kong 香港

HK was always on my list of places to visit but reading and reviewing Year of Fire Dragons really heightened that desire. When ZJ and I went to Guangzhou and Shenzhen, we were hungry to squeeze in a day in HK, utimately deciding a day would not do the city justice. (We also would need to get a new visa as the tourist visa he received with his HK travel docs expired long ago.)

2. Hangzhou 杭州

Coined “Heaven on Earth,” Hangzhou is home to the West Lake 西湖, an inspiration of poets and painters since the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). The freshwater lake houses gardens, temples, a tea farm, a spring, tombs, and a museum, surrounded by cloud-laden hills. Bonus: Visiting Hangzhou might result in an encounter with Jocelyn 🙂

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Three Reasons for Yangxifu Pride

It’s a mixed bag of reactions whenever I declare I’m a yangxifu, foreign wife/bride, at least in the United States. As a possibly necessary disclaimer, I do not inform acquaintances merely by translating into English, but may mention my husband is Chinese.

Self-identifying as a 洋媳妇 in China would always illicit positive responses, especially from the taxi drivers who mistook my nationality, identifying me as Russian. Many saw nothing out of the ordinary in a Russian woman marrying into a Chinese family.

I mesmerize millennials and many, but not all, of my peers, when I disclose my husband’s nationality. They get caught up in “the trans-national romance,” many having been abroad understanding the subtle nuances of creating lasting bonds, perhaps not as lasting as mine.

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