Preparing for Chinese New Year
I found a great book at the library by Karen Katz, My First Chinese New Year. The book is a simple introduction to the holiday, perfect for kids and adults like myself. My children are Chinese and I am not, but I still feel some responsibility for creating and nurturing a sense of cultural identity within them. And that goes for *all* of their cultural identities, since they also are part Irish as well as part Italian, too.
This week I'm doing some spring cleaning, which is a way to prepare for the new year. Tomorrow the kids will get their hair cut and they each have a new, traditional Chinese outfit to wear on Sunday. Emily and I went with Tutu to Chinatown yesterday to the Chinese New Year Flower Fair, where we bought the outfits as well as stalks of red gladiolus to decorate the house.
My local Ranch 99 Market (Chinese supermarket) was where I found lots of inexpensive New Year decorations and red envelopes (hong bao) commemorating the year of the Boar. On Sunday we'll give the kids envelopes with money inside.
Mike's dad has promised to cook some of his "famous" dishes and also to teach us how to make them. Mike is going to videotape his dad in the kitchen. I think I also am going to order some food from a local restaurant to round out our menu. I doubt we could have too much food; what's a party without leftovers?
The holiday is primarily a time to visit with relatives and I'm glad that we'll be able to see Mike's family this weekend and that my mom and stepdad are coming out next weekend. The kids are excited, too, and their enthusiasm is a powerful motivator for me.