Happy Chinese New Year!

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This past week has been quite busy for me. I’ve been running around between New Territories and the Kowloon Peninsula visiting family.

My cousin brought me out on the 29th to Sha Tin’s Flower Market. Most would go to the Victoria Harbor Flower Market because it’s way bigger and more festive, but she and I opted for somewhere less crowded and easier to get to (Victoria Harbor is on Hong Kong Island while we were in New Territories).

At a Flower Market, vendors set up stalls to sell Chinese New Year decorations like festive banners that have popular 4 character idioms, with the most popular one as “Gung Hay Fat Choy.” Along with decorations, there are traditional snacks such as “nian gao” which translates into as “New Year’s cake.” There was also stall that had a fish catching game that is very common at Asian festivals. I personally never tried the game before so I took the opportunity to try it out at the market!

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(I have my game face on!)

The goal of the game is to catch a fish with a thin piece of rice paper (think of tissue paper but slightly thicker). Let’s just say that this game is a lot harder than it looks! My cousin and I had a total of five tries and we failed miserably. But! We got some good laughs out of the game, definitely something I will never forget.

Now, what is a flower market without flowers?

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Orchids seem to the be the favorite during New Years so most vendors stocked a lot of orchids, and the prices for the orchids ranged from $20 – $100+ USD.

Because Chinese New Years is recognized as an official holiday in Hong Kong, HKBU has given us 5 days off (excluding weekends) for New Years and I am currently staying with my aunt for the break. The equivalency of Chinese New Years to Americans would be Christmas. During this time, families with meet up and have a big family dinner. It feels weird to not be back home in Philly right now, and to be quite honest, I miss my moms constant nagging around this time to clean the house properly (it is a tradition to clean the house properly in order to welcome the gods for the new year).

Since coming back to live with my aunt, I have been helping her out with the Chinese New Year traditions. Yesterday it was Chinese New Years Eve and she had to burn “paper” to the gods and our ancestors. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew she was burning “dead money” for our ancestors for the New Year. I have seen my dad do this back at home once or twice, but it is a rarity for my family.

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And what is New Years without “hong bau” (red envelopes) for kids?

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Red envelopes contain money (in the US it ranges from $5, $10, $20, $50, $100+) and are usually given to children by married couples and the elderly.

As this Chinese New Year is the Year of Horse, I am going to end this with a picture of me with the New Year displays at Festival Walk, an upscale shopping mall near HKBU!

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I want to wish everyone a wonderful Chinese New Years and may this year bring you joy, luck and prosperity!

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