A new holiday

This past week, we de-christmased our flat. We still have our new years’ hats, but that doesn’t count. It was epiphany, and therefor the decorations had to come down. No more garish tinsel, no more santa hats on the TV, no more ribbons littering the room. The tiny Christmas tree is tucked in the closet to wait for next year.

I was impressed to find that this goes for all of Hong Kong: the lego display has been taken down in front of the malls and even the poinsettias on our street have been replaced with orange blossoms. I ran on Thursday morning next to holiday flowers, and on Friday, there were orange buds.

With the disappearance of Christmas and New Years, there has also been a shift in some of the more local shops. Cheap tinsel and kitschy trees and stockings are replaced by even more red things. The red things, shiny things, and lucky cats are popping up all over the place, even the grocery store. Apparently Chinese New Year can be commercialized too.

It is rather fun to see some market for a holiday which I have never experienced. I’ve known about the concept, and there was always some party or other back in college, but no one really did anything. But now the traditional red envelopes of money, bright red posters with gold embossed snakes and the signs of fortune are popping up. It’s the year of the snake, so I fully expect serpents to become a theme. I might even go try snakehead at our local Schezuan restaurant. (We tried bull frog there last week, and it was delightful! Tastes like chicken)

Chinese New Year also happens to be a series of 4 public holidays, during which I shall travel, and avoid the experience of the new year. It may be unfortunate, but it is also just before my birthday. I get a holiday for free and I don’t miss anything I’m attached to. Win-win. Next year I might try to spend Chinese New Year in a more Chinese place, but I’m okay with it for now.

This also makes January less of a month of boredom and back-to-work, and more anticipation. It may help that flowers are blooming in the trees and parks, and our plants have new growth. January in Hong Kong is not so bad.

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