The Unbearable Banishment: kung hay fat choy

Friday, January 30, 2009

kung hay fat choy

In other words, Happy New Year!

Nurse H and I took a trip down to Chinatown to help our Chinese friends ring in the New Year. It’s 4707—the year of the Ox.

The Chinese New Year celebration lasts 15 days. You’re not supposed to say anything negative about anyone for 15 days. That’s quite a challenge, especially in a place as opinionated as New York City!

We strolled up and down Mott Street and watched the dragons parade. The dragons are followed by a team of percussionists. They dance at the entrance of each merchant. To ward off bad luck, the merchant ignites a firework that shoots a big wad of confetti into the air that frightens the dragon away. He then hands a red envelope filled with cash through the mouth of the dragon.

Sometimes, the dragons are invited into the restaurants to parade. I was in the middle of a big plate of beef chow fun and a dragon came in and tried to eat the proprietor.

Mott Street is closed to vehicular traffic and it becomes a big pedestrian mall. (That’s Nurse H in the blue hat.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...


January 30, 2009 at 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to take this 15 day no negativity challenge.

January 30, 2009 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger mjp said...

About half of my co-workers are of Chinese birth, and I can tell you that the 15 days of speaking no negativity must be similar to the Muslim Ramadan - a great idea, but everyone involved has found quite effective ways to work around it. I haven't seen anyone practicing it yet.

But at least now I can razz them when they do say something negative about someone.

January 30, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE these images! Your new camera kicks major ass.

January 30, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and a happy new year to you too. great pictures!

January 30, 2009 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger ~E said...

You know, I'm a quarter chinese but have never really gotten into the culture (other than the occasional chinese take out and fessing up to my heritage should someone mistake me for vietnamese). But I do like the New Year celebrations and the whole 15 day thing. I try it every year but somewhere around the 6th or 7th day someone always does something to piss me off.

February 4, 2009 at 2:30 AM  

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