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"So, how much money am I getting this year?" That's the question I hit my mom with every February. And every year she replies, "You will see," in her Chinese accent. February usually marks the month of the New Year according to the Chinese calendar. But for me, Chinese New Year is a payday. Usually I receive red envelopes, hong bao, which are the equivalent of Christmas presents. Instead of wondering what the present will be, though, it is the amount of money inside that is the mystery. The lucky money is actually a sign of prosperity, and the envelopes are red to scare away evil spirits. I always have to wait weeks to find out what my parents have in store for me. I never knew where or how the traditions of Chinese New Year originated, and I never gave it much thought, until my mom forced me to attend a special Chinese school, where we learned about the traditions behind the famous celebration. I had no knowledge of how the hanging of the red papers or the firecrackers began; as selfish as it may sound, the only parts of the holiday that had ever concerned me were the hong baos and the food. I learned there was once a beast, the nien (which means "year"), who terrorized villages and even began feeding on people. Hoping to rid themselves of this monster, the villagers realized the beast was afraid of the color red, fire and the loud crackling noise that bamboo makes when burning. So when winter fell upon the village, the people hung red peach-papers on their doors, banged on instruments, burned bamboo (whose crackling sound would give rise to the Chinese firecracker) and lit bonfires. When the beast came, he was terrified and fled into the mountains, never to return. Year after year the villagers continued the traditions, which they do to this day. Now, celebrations for the coming year continue until February 15th, the Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year is a wonderful holiday not just because of the hong bao but also because of the food. My mom is a culinary genius and my favorite dish is her dumplings, jiaozi. She puts in extra meats and fries them in a special way. I love them so much that my record for the most I've eaten at onetime is 30! For Chinese New Year my mom makes dish after dish of traditional food, and we have a special dinner involving a small electric pot. The pot is like a portable stove; it's narrow at the bottom with a large opening known as huo guo. Food is cooked in front of us while we eat. My mom makes a special sauce and usually adds quail eggs, a delicacy. Traditional family feasts also include cakes, most commonly rice cakes made of glutinous rice flour. Sweet treats symbolize good luck, and I always eat until my stomach is stuffed full. The excitement that comes with anticipating New Year's is one I will never tire of. While the real celebrations are taking place in China and Taiwan, my family holds its own traditions. I can always count on my mom to make the same delicious foods every year, and there is a comfort in knowing that as my sisters and I open our hong bao, our cousins so many miles away are doing the same. Shing nien kwai le, gung xi fa cai - Have a happy and prosperous new year.
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Chinese New Year
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Chinese New Year

Words: 583    Pages: 2    Paragraphs: 7    Sentences: 32    Read Time: 02:07
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              "So, how much money am I getting this year? " That's the question I hit my mom with every February. And every year she replies, "You will see," in her Chinese accent.
             
              February usually marks the month of the New Year according to the Chinese calendar. But for me, Chinese New Year is a payday. Usually I receive red envelopes, hong bao, which are the equivalent of Christmas presents. Instead of wondering what the present will be, though, it is the amount of money inside that is the mystery. The lucky money is actually a sign of prosperity, and the envelopes are red to scare away evil spirits. I always have to wait weeks to find out what my parents have in store for me.
             
              I never knew where or how the traditions of Chinese New Year originated, and I never gave it much thought, until my mom forced me to attend a special Chinese school, where we learned about the traditions behind the famous celebration. I had no knowledge of how the hanging of the red papers or the firecrackers began; as selfish as it may sound, the only parts of the holiday that had ever concerned me were the hong baos and the food.
             
              I learned there was once a beast, the nien (which means "year"), who terrorized villages and even began feeding on people. Hoping to rid themselves of this monster, the villagers realized the beast was afraid of the color red, fire and the loud crackling noise that bamboo makes when burning. So when winter fell upon the village, the people hung red peach-papers on their doors, banged on instruments, burned bamboo (whose crackling sound would give rise to the Chinese firecracker) and lit bonfires. When the beast came, he was terrified and fled into the mountains, never to return. Year after year the villagers continued the traditions, which they do to this day. Now, celebrations for the coming year continue until February 15th, the Lantern Festival.
             
              Chinese New Year is a wonderful holiday not just because of the hong bao but also because of the food. My mom is a culinary genius and my favorite dish is her dumplings, jiaozi. She puts in extra meats and fries them in a special way. I love them so much that my record for the most I've eaten at onetime is 30!
             
              For Chinese New Year my mom makes dish after dish of traditional food, and we have a special dinner involving a small electric pot. The pot is like a portable stove; it's narrow at the bottom with a large opening known as huo guo. Food is cooked in front of us while we eat. My mom makes a special sauce and usually adds quail eggs, a delicacy. Traditional family feasts also include cakes, most commonly rice cakes made of glutinous rice flour. Sweet treats symbolize good luck, and I always eat until my stomach is stuffed full.
             
              The excitement that comes with anticipating New Year's is one I will never tire of. While the real celebrations are taking place in China and Taiwan, my family holds its own traditions. I can always count on my mom to make the same delicious foods every year, and there is a comfort in knowing that as my sisters and I open our hong bao, our cousins so many miles away are doing the same.
             
              Shing nien kwai le, gung xi fa cai - Have a happy and prosperous new year.
             
             
New Year Essay Holiday Essay 
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