This was written on 1/22/12...
What a celebration! And this is only day two! *sigh* I'm sorry you guys
won't get to read these until long after it happened. SO ANNOYING!
anyway......yesterday was day one of the Spring Festival. The fireworks
started going off at about 10am. They sound like gunfire. People can
buy fireworks of any size and set them off just about
anywhere.......including in between apartment buildings! That is a crazy
sight. And......looks like a serious fire hazard. AND you get hit with
debris when you're walking down the street. :)
At about 5pm the fireworks started getting REALLY LOUD. It sounded like a
war broke out in the area. I can't even imagine what it sounds like in
the big cities.
We went out at about 8pm. We stopped to buy
fireworks and then stopped to watch various displays as we waited for a
taxi. The fireworks are everywhere! In every direction there is
something going on and the colors are all beautiful and vibrant.
We met up with a bunch of people at the Jinshan Temple and Park. My
guide for the night was a girl named Nicole. She was there with her
cousin (who didn't have an English name and I could never get his
Chinese name right. I caused a lot of giggling.) Nicole instructed me on
how to buy incense so that I could make my wish for the new year. All
the bundles of incense seemed so big! But, I chose a sort of middle size
and paid the man. He handed me two candles and the incense, which I
took with my right hand. He grabbed them out of my hand and handed me
the candles to the right and the incense to the left. I was confused.
We walked to an area in front of the first temple....there was a bonfire
made out of the discarded incense and two tower things of candles.
Nicole explained that you were to light your candles with the right hand
and then use them to light the incense with the left hand. She said you
had to hold the incense with the left hand because the right hand was
used to kill the meat you eat. It wasn't holy or something.........I
couldn't remember to keep it out of my right hand. So, I hope that
doesn't mean I ruined my wish!
She told us that we had to bow three times in each direction. Starting
with the east, then south...ending with the north. Each bow we needed to
repeat our wish (or you could pray). She said that some people will do
this all night. Just keep going in circles. But, since we were only
wishing...and not praying....we only had to do it once.
So, I did! But, I'm not going to tell you what I wished for........
we threw our incense on the bonfire and went to a tower thing that is
some kind of well. Nicole told me to try and throw a coin in and if I
make it....make my wish again and rub the tower. So, did that....and
then we walked into the first temple. Nicole told me to take off my hat
and bow before Buddha three times and say a prayer.
"That's okay. Thank you. I don't have anything to pray for."
Cousin: "You must pray so that the Chinese god can forgive you."
"Forgive me for what?"
Cousin: "FOR NOT BEING CHINESE!"
So, I knelt down and said, "sorry I'm not Chinese. Happy New Year."
we walked into another temple and I became totally "interested" in what
the monks were doing......to avoid more kneeling and more apologizing. I
also didn't want to take my hat off again. I mean....people are already
staring at me! Why give them hat hair? :D
Then we walked outside the temple and park grounds to light off fireworks galore!
was such a fun night. I came home a bit earlier than everyone
else......but, I'm also the "old" one in the group. LOL. Well, I am
about 10 years older than everyone.......but that isn't why I came home.
I don't have the money (or the desire) to be in a bar until 3 or 4am.
Does that make me old? Smarter with my money? Normal? Who knows.......
This morning the fireworks started just after 7am. They have calmed down
now, but I bet after people are done eating lunch....BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!