Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In the middle of two auspicious lions

Superstition and Taboo

An hour to 12am on the 25th of January 2009, the entire sky had turned red and smoky. Thick smoke billowed everywhere. Explosions were heard non stop. Loud blasts were deafening. Lights flickered non stop into our room.

War had started. My husband and I sought refuge in a hotel room. We looked out of our room window in awe and disbelief. The sights and sounds were dizzying and drowning. We were caught in the start of a fireworks and firecrackers frenzy. Never in our lives had we ever witnessed such a frenzied display of fireworks and firecrackers in this magnitude.

Every household and business buildings in Gui Lin, China were burning fire crackers that looked like strings of dried red peppers measuring between 5 to 12 meters long. Magnificent displays of fireworks in the sky surpassed the ones we saw during last year's Olympic games in Beijing.

Chinese people had the tradition of burning fire crackers to herald in the New Spring Year which fell on the 26th of January this year.
Superstition had it that a demonic monster named Nian, the same Chinese character as for "year", was once skulking toward an ancient village to gobble its occupants when it was frightened away by the crackling sound it made by stepping on stacks of dried reeds. People have set off firecrackers to scare him off every year since they discovered loud noises were the bane of this beast.

Another thing I noticed about New Spring Year is almost everyone would want to wear red. Although I do see people wear green, yellow and blue, red was the prominent colour. It is a
taboo to be wearing black since black is associated to bad luck and also it's always during funeral services that people wear black. Red is supposedly the most auspicious colour for any happy events and celebrations.

While I am writing this article, I am day dreaming about how nice it would be if it only requires firecrackers and wearing red to chase the epilepsy beast out of me. Knowing very well that controlling seizures requires regular intake of anti epilepsy drugs (AED), I still splurge a small sum of Yuan to buy a red winter coat for my husband and myself. Like the saying goes, since we were in Gui Lin, we better do what the Gui Lin people do. I bought 9 one foot long firecrackers that cost me 9 yuan to burn at the park behind the hotel we stayed. Bang, bang, bang,bang,bang,bang,bang,bang,bang.......9 bangs which makes it three nines 999. The numbers three nines, according to Chinese belief, mean long life.

YAY.... Long LIFE to my husband, son and me. Long LIFE to my relatives and siblings. Long LIFE to my dear friends and supportive blog readers

1 comment:

  1. yea, if only its that simple to drastically change our lives for the better. wouldnt it be nice if there is such thing as a magic lamp that will grant us our wishes. no, make that a single wish, i'd settle for that...hehe...

    ok, back to reality.

    you're doing a great job here serene. keep it up!



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