Lunar New Year is January 28 this year. It’s a really important day, but my mama’s pretty low key about it. After years of her children living here and there, she just wants all of us home for dinner at some point, in the general vicinity of that date. Well, this year, we're all in town, and we’ll be together tomorrow on New Year’s Eve, January 27, as it should be. I can't wait. My mom's an amazing chef. I’m bringing the paperwhite narcissi I planted to bloom just in time.
Next morning I'll make my husband practice saying “Kung Hey Fat Choy, Sun Tai Geen Hong!” with the proper Cantonese tones. He’s got a good ear for them! Then we'll run to my parents and offer these well-worn phrases in exchange for Li See – those little red packets full of MONEYS! Too bad, this fun lasts only until we have children of our own.
My dad tells stories about when he was a kid in Hong Kong. He and his brother would receive pretty generous sums from some of their father's business associates. The boys would finish counting their cash with wide eyes – just in time to have to hand it all back to their father. “But why??” I ask my dad. “So your Ye Ye could present it to the next business associate’s kids! Such heavy taxes on our Li See!" my dad exclaims back, amidst our gails of laughter. “Oh well,” he finishes, “while the nighttime festivities were going on people always dropped their Li See by accident and the next morning I’d make sure to go around picking them up.” LOL.
Happy Lunar New Year! May this be an auspicious year for all!!