Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Day 22: Chinese New Year Eve

17 Feb is the Chinese New Year Eve and we already got a full schedule to start the day.

Since there's no coconut tree in France, we contacted a friend who has coconut trees in her garden to let the French experience "the coconut picking" process.

Fabien is picking a coconut.

Tasting the fresh coconut juice.

Of course they are interested in the banana tree as well.

We continued the day by visiting two factories, one of them is a partnership company by my siblings and their spouses. It was a request from Fabien's father, and we didn't have time to visit on the day scheduled. Luckily we still managed to see the working process on the first factory as they were nearly closed for Chinese New Year.

We got back in time to see the praying process. The praying has to start before noon. We served foods to our ancestors to welcome them to join us in the reunion lunch.

This is from my first sister side. She served foods to her husband's ancestors.

My father is asking the ancestors whether they have finished having the foods. We can't start the reunion lunch if the ancestors haven't finished theirs. The two wood stuffs on the floor serve as a tool to communicate with the ancestors.

Once the ancestors indicate that they have well eaten, the offsprings will burn some paper money to them.

My French family requested to have all my family together to enjoy the French champagne. It was a tough job for me. I thought I could, but it's really a culture difference here. My mother cooks in the kitchen and she doesn't get used to greet people like those French hostress. My siblings were busying closing their factory for the New Year, so we don't know when they will finish work and arrived. Eventually it was a tension moment for me, as it was time to go fetch another group of French who arrived in Malaysia, but some of my siblings were still not arrived to make the champagne tossing requested.

I don't remember if everyone was there but we do the tossing anyway.

The reunion lunch started without me, Fabien and my second brother in-laws, as we were on the way to the airport to pick up the friends who arrived in the afternoon. Fabien was very upset and surprised with the fact that we missed the important moment and make my brother in-laws missed the most important event of the year for the family. He couldn't understand why my siblings couldn't arrived early. The fact was my siblings have the praying at their own house. For us, since we see each other so often, the reunion lunch is just another occasion to get everybody together. It's not like in France some family only see each other once a year.

Steamboat is a favorite choice for reunion as it can serve many people at once without too much work.

This year my family got to try the champagne during the reunion lunch.

Our reunion dinner was held in my neighbore's house. It was probably very weird for the French as shouldn't the reunion dinner just for family only? Our reason, a good neighbore is just like a family. In our village, everybody is nice to each other and helping out whenever they can. For the Chinese culture, the more the merit. Of course, it's hard for them to understand, just like I was very upset over the fact that their Christmas reunion is strictly for their family only, and from what I understood the in-laws are not in the family.

Reunion dinner in neighbore's house.

As a way to show his hospility, my neighbore brought out the Chinese New Year cookies for the guests to try.

A Chinese New Year is not a new year without the fun part: playing firecracker.

10 of the French were playing the firecrackers and this is the effect under the sky.

Red firecracker is a must for the Chinese. On the first day of Chinese New Year, it's nice to see the floor full of red papers, a leftover from the firecracker.

This kind of firecracker is for kids as they are less dangerous.

The whole neighborehood was outside playing firecrackers.

Eventhough playing firecracker is prohibited in Malaysia, the government is lenient enough to let the Chinese community carry on with their tradition. So, you see the firecracker everyway during the Chinese New Year, from the eve to the 15 days of the celebration. The French was wondering why we didn't go to a place to watch the firecracker just like they do during the 14 July. I told them, our village is the place, we play our own firecracker.

The Chinese New Year started at mightnight and we prayed again to welcome the "Chai Seng", the money god to our family. Hopefully every family has their prosperous god to bless them for the whole year.

I know I shouldn't compared too much as each culture has it's own tradition, but I really like the Chinese way of celebration, everybody is welcome to join. Though I like Christmas especially the food, I hate to have to go to the fun fair every year under the freezing weather and receiving gifts that you don't like and have to pretend that you like them.

No comments:

Post a Comment