You might be thinking that this post is a little overdue if I'm going to talk about the new year. Your concerns might be somewhat assuaged if I told you this post was about Chinese New Year, not the traditional January 1 new year. An astute observer might note, however, that since Chinese New Year was on February 3, this post is still late. But the fact of the matter is, the ushering in of the Year of the Rabbit is very much alive & hoppin' in these parts.
And by hoppin' what I mean is exploding, popping, combusting, clapping, snapping, booming, and any other such onomatopoeia that comes to mind.
To the American mind, signs of the holidays are Bing Crosby crooning in department stores, twinkle lights artfully strewn across public areas, shiny red bows on packages under the tree, and the smells of apple cider, pine, and freshly-fallen snow. It seems that the major indicator of holiday spirit in China is the bigger the bang, the more festive you are.
Let me explain. There are very few regulations on fireworks here. No noise pollution rules, no city zoning laws. It's pretty much a free for all, no holds bar exhibition of pyrotechnic aptitude. For the past two weeks or so, the fireworks usually start before 7 AM and go until at least after 10 PM. But on New Years Eve last Wednesday, it was a mad house for hours, starting with the big guns:
And the not-so-big-but-oh-so-much-safer guns:
Despite the carnage of red paper the next day, more fireworks were certainly in order.
(Good thing I got out of the way. This is what my friend in the above picture set off!)
Now I think it should be a good rule that in order to play with explosives unattended by an adult, you should be long past the green lollipop stage of life. But it seems I'm the only one who feels that way.
The downside to all the fireworks has been that Beans refuses to go outside. She spends most of her time either glued to our laps or hiding under the bed. Whenever we put on our coats or get her leash to take her for a walk, she runs away. We've devised a rather cruel but necessary strategy of dragging her behind us simply for the cause of preventing her bladder from exploding.
On the fifteenth day of the New Year, we will celebrate Yuan Shao Jie, which translates as the Lantern Festival. This should mark the end of the firework frenzy, but in the meantime, we're enjoying this new flare of holiday fun.