The rise of the Chinese in the world economy has increased the western world’s awareness of the mass migration that the Chinese undertake from the cities where they work to the country where their families live.
This holiday of dragon dances, firecrackers, superstitions and symbolic foods, is highly scripted. On each day of the 15 days, certain family members are honored, and certain foods are eaten. Superstitions surrounding the cleaning of the house, preparing and displaying the food offerings to ancestors, and meal preparation and presentation are strictly followed, so as not to introduce an opportunity for bad luck of any kind (e.g. no money, no children, no family happiness) for the coming year.
The holiday period ends in the Lantern festival, which is steeped in mythological origin. It was said that a beautiful bird from heaven was destroyed by villagers in a village. The Jade Emperor saw this and condemned the village to be destroyed.
His daughter, the princess, took pity and tipped the villagers’ off to their fate. An old man passing through the village wisely advised them to hang lanterns, burn fires, and set off fireworks, so that from the sky above, the village looked to already be engulfed in flames. So the Jade Emperor left the village alone thinking it to be destroyed, and the village was saved!
This tale may sound a little corny, but many traditions, western or eastern, are rich in these captivating tales. The themes behind celebrations are universal regardless of WHO we are: life, our respective cultures, and to hope for a good future. The differences come in HOW we do it, so in the end, does it matter if I celebrate by eating chicken feet, or chicken drumsticks? The bottom line is that we all celebrate inherently for the same reasons.