Sunday, February 24, 2013

Journey. Part II...

Written on Feb. 22nd

Spring Festival
February 9th was an interesting day. It was like Christmas and Fourth of July all rolled into one. We ate A LOT of food, there were fireworks everywhere, and people exchanged gifts. Well, mostly they exchanged money. That seems to be the custom here. For weddings, holidays, birthdays……you get a red envelope with money in it.
Also, the firework thing = TERRIFYING. Honestly. People are lighting fireworks in the streets, in the apartment hallways, rooftops….basically from flat surfaces. And I’m not talking about sparklers and firecrackers. I mean, of course you see those too, but I’m talking about the big guns.
Last year, in Zhenjiang, I was walking down the street and got a hole burned into my coat from falling debris. This year, luckily, I didn’t get hit with burning debris again. But, there were plenty of times that I had to turn away so that things wouldn’t fly into my face. They are very serious about the fireworks.

The day after Spring Festival, families go to the tombs of their loved ones and light incense, say some sort of prayer, literally bow to them, light off fire crackers, and eat fruit with the dead. I'm not kidding. They drop an orange in front of the tomb for the dead person, and then eat a bunch of oranges in front of the tomb....."with" their dead family member.
*Side Note: I asked Jessica to take a picture. The burial ground/mountain was fascinating. My camera was dead and I brought the wrong charger. So, I asked Jessica to take a picture.
Her: I can't.
Me: Why?
Her: That would be rude. The dead are enjoying their holiday. I don't want to be impolite.

I stood there for a minute waiting for her to tell me she was joking. But, I don't think she was joking.

Anyway, we were on the mountain visiting her grandfather on her mother's side. So, I was asking a few questions about her grandpa. Jessica told me that her grandparents were married for 70 years before he died. They had 8 children, but only four survived the first two years of life. Jessica's mom is the baby of the family. The oldest sister was actually the third child born.
Here is the interesting part.....................
When Jessica's grandfather was a boy, it was a popular custom in China for rich families to buy little girls for their sons. Many, many little girls to be their wives….many wives.
But, Jessica's great grandparents only wanted one wife for their son. So, when grandpa was 10 years old, his parents bought a baby girl. They raised her in their home....and when she was 12......the wedding happened. When she was 16....the first baby was born.
ISN'T THAT CRAZY?!? Grandma has known her husband for her WHOLE LIFE!

Sheesh. I find that so interesting.

So, that was pretty much Sunday. Monday was just as interesting to me!
(To Be Continued…..again…..)

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