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Chinese New Year 2013

Happy Year of House Slitherin!

Wait, that’s not right.

Happy New Year (of the Snake)!

Yesterday, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday at the local roller rink, and, yes, I went skating, too (my daughter hasn’t gained full confidence in her ability to get about on wheels and requires daddy’s hand), so I’m exhausted today.*

We met my wife’s side of the family for dinner last night to celebrate her mom’s birthday as well as her nephew’s birthday (both of which are today). The plan had been to go to the temple on the north side of town for the Chinese New Year celebrations since it actually fell on a weekend this year, but the cold, drizzly weather and the fact that I’d been about to fall asleep at the wheel told us the better bet was to go home.

This was disappointing because I know my kids would love it. I haven’t been to a Chinese New Year’s celebration since my wife and I got married (and I think the last had been a year or two earlier when we’d gone), but I found the atmosphere vibrant with positive energy (and I typically hate crowds) more so than I have other New Year’s celebrations. Granted, I’ve only been to the ones here in Oklahoma City (which are fun, don’t get me wrong) but the venues are so spread out and the typical thing is brave the cold from one to the next, popping inside long enough to warm up, see what’s going on, then back outside again (and we have even had a few years when the weather has been in the 60s during the day, so pleasant night temperatures).

But everything at the temple was in one location. The temple is large—not nearly so much as the one being built just northwest of Houston though—but enough that people can pack in tightly and it not feel totally claustrophobic. I’ve never figured out why I’ve always found the Chinese New Year’s celebration more optimistic than the traditional western New Year.**

Ah, well, there will be other Chinese New Year’s Days to celebrate and some of those will fall on a weekend, too.


*Of course, I’d planned to skate anyway. I’d taken the kids skating the first time over the Christmas break. They loved it. So much so that my daughter decided then to have her birthday party there. That had been the first time I’d gone roller skating since Carter was in office. I’ve been ice skating a bit more recently—as little as twenty years ago—and only recently discovered the ice rink on this side of town is actually open for public skating during the day. Guess I know what I’ll be doing once a week while the kids are in school.

**Hmmm, dragon dance and fireworks going off as opposed to a mirrored ball rising (or falling as it does everywhere else) and fireworks. The former’s definitely more exciting, but even though the incense burned in the temple does give me a headache, there’s some intangible that the lunar new year brings. Maybe it’s the simple fact that it comes later than the solar new year and isn’t lumped in with the commercial frenzy that is Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s so there’s time to reflect on the old before diving into the new.


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