Mar 042009

Chinese New Year is about two things: fireworks and family.

I believe my previous post made it fairly clear that I got a good taste of the former aspect of the most populated country’s biggest holiday. But what about the latter?

Once again, thanks to my fabulous host Andy and his good friend Leo, yes, I did.

On the night of New Year’s Eve, Leo and his family had us over for a homemade feast – of fresh crab, enormous shrimp, steamed vegetables, and all the pig’s feet you can eat. Although I could understand little of what was being discussed, I was extremely thankful for the opportunity to experience Chinese New Year with a real Chinese family…in China.

As the evening pushed on, the tempo of the fireworks outside the window never stopped rising – and I couldn’t help myself from rushing over to watch. But every time I did, Leo arrived soon after:

“No, it’s verrry little!” he’d say. “Only 9pm! Just wait until midnight! Now, very little!”

“Little” would hardly be the word I’d choose to describe the escalating chaos around us, but I took his word for it and returned to the kitchen…

…To join his wife, son, and niece in rolling some Chinese dumplings – a new year’s tradition. We continued with a few rounds of Hide-And-Seek, before Andy remembered that he hadn’t yet shown me Leo’s rocks…

“In China, wealthy businessmen are crazy over Jade,” Leo told me. “Not over sportscars or designer suits – it’s all about jade. Here, check out this rock. How much do you think it’s worth?”

The answer?

$900,000. A massive chunk of one of the rarest types.

Just think about that: a stone worth as much as 5 Ferraris in a country where $100 a month is more than enough to live off of. Just sitting there on the desk.

Can I have one? Please? 🙂

When the clock reached 11:30, it was finally time to head downstairs and into the storage shed to pull out the big guns.

The sound of millions of fireworks going off continuously from everywhere around you is an experience that’s just indescribable. No photo or video can capture it. But I gave it my best shot 🙂

Repeated from my last post, see video here.

By the time Andy and I hopped on our bikes and headed home the city lie in smoldering ruins. With the peak of the holiday past, explosions were still constant – but no longer was every single building’s front doorstep lined with launch tubes and boxes upon boxes of fireworks.

Instead, they were covered with ash and red paper shrapnel.

My heart goes out to China’s streetsweepers.

  12 Responses to “Fireworks and Family”

  1. hehehe……good stuff

  2. In the past ,Chinese New Year wasn’t about two things actually .it had many aspects such as temple fair……Spending time on New Year’s day at my grandparents’ home when i was a child is really a good memory to me!My grandparents cookded many different kinds of Chinese food at home for us with Chinese old utensils until the midnight,worshipped the ancestors…… Nowadays,working people have few time to do anything except buy fast food to cook or do some simple cooking and then fire fireworks!so i think,Chinese New year now there are only two things left like you said: fireworks and family!If there is no fireworks ,New year is nothing different from normal days!!:)

    Tell you the truth,i am bored of present Chinese New year ,nothing interesting!!every year is the same!

    I really miss my childhood’s Chinese New Year at my grandparents’ home!:)

  3. Holy Cow!!! Junior is carrying a Bazooka and a mini
    “Fat Man”.
    Do they really let go of these ??
    Where are the local Police ?? Asleep while a war is going on ?? Only in China !!
    🙂 🙂


  4. Actually, we did both the temple and grandparents’ visit the next day…just haven’t gotten to that post yet (you beat me to it!)

    (Although I would still consider most of what you said “family”: visiting grandparents, cooking at home with them, worshiping ancestors…that’s all family.)

  5. ThirdEye: Haha wow, you typed that comment RIGHT as I was responding to Julia’s 😛

    Yep, anything and everything goes. It’s quite scary, really. One of the windows of Andy’s office is still cracked from getting hit by a firework last year. And if you watch my video closely, towards the end (right when I say “sh*t!”) one of the huge sparks comes into the balcony and lands RIGHT next to my foot. That’s why I stepped back.

    We saw many firetrucks and ambulances that week, to be sure…

  6. The police are participating!!! 🙂

  7. all the pig’s feet you can eat.:)this is chinese new year. i love pig’s feet so much ,it’s really delicious

  8. Leo!! Whassap buddy 😀

    Pig’s feet, ‘eh? I’m more of a shrimp fan myself…but you knew that already, hehe 😉

  9. After watching your fascinating Chinese New Year Warzone video,
    I am going to book an AirTicket to China for the Next Chinese New Year 2010,
    and experience it person.
    I am convince we must have this ammendment.

    Amendment July 4th 2009
    “We the People, in Order to establish world peace,
    shall assemble at least once every Year
    to have a “shock and awe” blitzkrieg,
    which shall include a grand finale with an ultimate kaboom,
    as suggested at the bottom pictures of this Link

    Junior’s mini Hiroshima’s “Fat Man” will do the job. 🙂

    The justifications are
    1) It is far cheaper and more entertaining than to sustain the current 2 senseless wars,
    2) A good time will be had by all, and second to none.
    3) This mandatory activity will satisfy the egoes of all the war mongers of this planet, and leave the majority of us humanoids in peace.

    Everybody wants a Revolution.
    I say give Fireworks a chance.
    😉 hee hee


  10. Third eye….hehehe…..fireworks rock…and you should definitely come see it!

  11. Holy crap! Some of those photos are just magnificent! Maybe I’ve got more to see during Chinese New Year after all 🙂

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