Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

It is Chinese New Years here in Asia and we have been busily ringing in the "Year of the OX!" It has been a crazy 3 weeks leading up to this momentous day, with the local street markets filled to overflowing with people shopping and preparing for this significant holiday. This holiday is as important for the Chinese like Christmas is to us! A Chinese proverb states that all creations are reborn on New Year’s day, so in actuality, this is a celebration of change ... So out with the old and in with the new!
Here are some things YOU don't want to do on New Years Day...
--Don’t touch your hair--Well, you can touch it, comb it, etc., but you must NOT cut it or wash it! Why? Because you will wash or cut away all of your good fortune!
--Don’t sweep the floor or clean your house. Why? Because all of your good fortune will be swept away! (besides, all of your cleaning was supposed to be done ahead of time!)
--Don't shed any tears! Why? IF you cry on New Years day, you will cry the whole year long! So for heaven sakes to those of you who have children, do NOT scold them on this day!
--Put away that knife! Why? Because knives will cut off your good fortune!
--Do not wear black! Why? Black is a bad omen associated with death and grave misfortune! (However, even though I did wear a black skirt and top, I did have on my lucky red jacket...to counteract the misfortune!

However, on that special day, begin it by greeting everyone with a "Kung Hei Fat Choy" which means "Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth".
--Give two lee see’s to each child or single adult. Why Two?? Because happiness (double happiness) always comes in two’s, and it is VERY bad luck to just give one. This is your way of passing good luck to the next generation. (a lee see or 'Lucky Money Envelope' is a red envelope with brand new money inside.)

--Wear brand new clothes! Preferably red--because, red of course is a prosperous/lucky color!
--Open every door and window in your home at midnight to make sure the old year gets out!

By Monday, January 26, the throngs of people have disappeared, the street vendors have put away their wares and everyone has gone home to celebrate with their families. The familiar red taxi's that are usually in great abundance on the roads are scarce, and the buses have trimmed their schedules dramatically. This is one of the few times of the year that you could say 'While Hong Kong was sleeping, the Year of the Ox arrived with a BANG! And what a bang it was with a 5 million Hong Kong dollar Fireworks display! There was a total of 23,888 firing shells discharged in a glorious 23 minute extravaganza over Victoria Harbor. The city planned 10 different fireworks scenes, beginning with the lucky number 8! Can you see the #8?

SO what did we do for Chinese New Year? We went to a party at Elder and Sister Watson's home. Elder and Sister Watson had lived full time in Beijing many years ago and love the Chinese New Year celebrations. Now that they are back in China, (Hong Kong) they were excited to have a Chinese New Years party. (Sister Watson and Sister Goo in the kitchen)

We had dinner, and then watched the fabulous 23 minute long fireworks display from their balcony! Of course, it was alittle too smoggy for the fireworks to be fully appreciated, but they were still wonderful to watch! One of the guests for the evening was a new friend of ours, cute little Julian Wan...Adorable!

For your enlightenment, the following were born during "The Year of the..."
Dad, Brett AND Julianne: Were all Born in the Year of the OX!

A keeper of tradition, the Ox maintains a classic and sophisticated style. Iron-willed, they remain true to their beliefs. A strong leader, their hard work and dedication are an inspiration to all. Ox people never stray from their chosen path.

Mom and Erin: Born in the Year of the Rabbit!

Wise & Insightful, Rabbits have a deep understanding of others. Not a risk-taker, they are cautious when making decisions. A protector of diplomacy, they seek compromise to conflicts. Their creativity and style surround them with beauty.

Kara and Ellie--Kindred Spirits that were Born in the Year of the Ram!

Gentle and docile, the Ram is sincere & kind-hearted. A pacifist, they never question authority. Fueled by compassion, they admire all of nature’s beauty. Rams strive to create a secure & tranquil environment. (sweet girls, showing their gentle and docile personalities!)

Briana: Born in The Year of the Boar!

Pure of heart, Boar people are generous and kind. Full of inner strength and courage, they can take on any task. A friend who listens, the Boar is sincere and trustworthy. They are driven by their passion for life.

Adam: Born in The Year of the Monkey!

Clever & quick-witted, Monkeys are successful in every endeavor. Inquisitive, they constantly seek new opportunities & adventure. Their intellect & versatility allow them to adapt to any situation. Their mischievous spirit is entertaining.

Miss Emma: Born in The Year of the "GOLDEN" Dragon--very lucky indeed!

Never cautious, the Dragon is not afraid when faced with a challenge. They will defend and protect any cause close to their heart. Confident and strong, they enter all battles. Dragons are known for their powerful and majestic spirit.

Mr. Ryan: Born in The Year of the Rooster!

Self-reliant and independent, the Rooster is not one to seek counsel. They are confident and aggressive and are most at home in a crowd. A perfectionist, they leave no detail undocumented. Roosters will never abandon their dreams.

So there you have it--The Hong Kong Hallstrom family in all of it's zodiac craziness and charm!
Kung Hei Fat Choy Everyone!


  1. "Never question authority"? Are you sure that is right, mom? Doesn't sound like me.

    Oh, how I wish I was there this year. I loved ringing in the New Year in Hong Kong.

  2. This was such a fun post! I loved every word.

    And I DO have a pure heart, don't I? :)

  3. What a perfect post. I loved reading all about chinese new year and all about our personalities. I guess this explains why you and I are kindred spirits huh mom?

  4. a.) i loved loved loved this post
    b.) did erin tell you i'm "earning" my miles to Hong Kong?
    c.) i thought all the year descriptors were so perfect for everyone...but as your fourth, albeit "pretend", daughter, you should know I'm a rat.

  5. What fun! I love Chinese New Year. Your new little friend looks to be about Belle's age . . . a new pen pal maybe? We had takeout to celebrate. I'm going to up my celebration next year, just like St. Lucia Day! We wish you a year of good luck and fortune.

  6. Loved this post! Whew, I didn't clean, wear black, cut my hair or cry today...blew it on the rest however?! This made me want to have a Chinese New Year party...maybe next year I can get my act together? Grandpa and I were born in the year of the horse...what's our scoop?

  7. P.S. You are getting so professional with your blog...videos no less...I am impressed! why did we never celebrate this in Hawaii? I missed out on a lot of red envelopes growing up!?

  8. wow aunt di! amazing post! we'll see if i get to planning our annual chinese new year fhe...if not, we'll just all read your psot together. :)

  9. How fun!! I wish we celebrated more holidays (and non-holidays) with fireworks =).

    And I love the zodiac descriptions!! Jeff is seriously the epitome of the Rabbit, but I don't think I'm much of a Dragon. Hmmm.