We are in Nanjing with another family from the United States. They are a fabulous family, and we have loved getting to know
Every year we go to Vancouver B.C. for the Chinese New Year Parade. It’s always a favorite day for our kids. We get a hotel room the night before and go somewhere fun for dinner. Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year, is a grand and important event for many people. This is a time when family spends time together, eats meals, and plans for the coming year. Children are given new clothes, usually in red, and given red envelopes filled with money.
There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac and each year a different animal is honored. This year was the year of the Horse. This felt applicable, considering this is the year we got horses and have been preoccupied with them during most of our free time. It’s always fun to see the decorations reflecting each particular animal. Some are elaborate, and some……. are made of paper bags and string.
It’s always hilarious trying to set up our chairs. For the most part, the people there watching have no problem pushing us out of our seats so they can be more comfortable watching the parade. Last year there were ladies sitting in our seats before they were all the way open. This year I didn’t feel sorry for anyone no matter if they were ninety. I carried that chair 27 blocks and I was going to sit in it. We lined our seats up and hurriedly sat down. Of course in no time there were people in front of us and behind us. Our friend, Dan, was with us this year. He had people laying on his back to take pictures and get a better view. It’s funny to see adults pushing kids out of the way in order to get that red envelope containing one piece of candy. Occasionally they passed out small toys, and that turned into an all out race to see who got it first.
About halfway through the parade, Scott runs down this great place called Newtown Bakery where we get steamed rolls filled with BBQ pork. Of course this tortures off of the people around us and we can feel them willing us to share with them. Since there are dozens of people all around us, we cannot do that. As we eat our warm, steamed buns we happily enjoy the sights and sounds that go with Chinese New Year. The loud clanging drums, the nonstop firecrackers, and the vivid colors that fill the streets. I can’t help but feel proud to be connected to this event, thanks to our daughter. She comes from a culture that is ancient and fascinating.
Havensong thoroughly loves this day. She waves at all of the people and politely holds out her hand to receive treats. She is all smiles as the lions swirl and dance towards her. It just never gets old watching the dragon slithering dizzily towards us, high above the crowd. We laugh at the cute children trying out their new dances and Kung Fu movements. We watch in awe at the elderly ladies walking in 4 inch sparkly heels like it’s no big deal. As far as we could see there was just one man doing crowd control. He was in charge of hundreds of people, and all he had was a horn that blasted a sing-songy tone at the crowd. They didn’t really listen to him at all but he kept trying. At one point Scott ran over and took a Selfie with him.
We had another great day at the parade. We always learn so much from the people around us, and we leave each year feeling glad we went. I want Havensong to experience this part of her culture, to hear her native language, and feel like she is a part of it all. What a rich history she can boast of. It’s an honor to be able to share this with our daughter. The Chinese calendar is on the year 4712. Our country is so young! It’s hard to imagine how many generations have taken part in this amazing tradition.