Friday, February 16, 2007

The story I posted here a few days ago about my experience with the love and kindness shown to me by a stranger in China was featured on the web site of the popular travel guidebook company Lonelyplanet. They did a feature on "Love on the Road" for Valentines day and used my submission. You can see it here:

Speaking of China, Sunday is the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival.

Xin nian yu kuai

Chinese New Year, known in Chinese as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year 農曆新年; is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The festival proper begins on the first day of the first lunar month 15th, called Lantern Festival or Shi Wu Wan.
Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxì (除夕). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "eve". Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese, and has had a strong influence on the new year celebrations of its neighbours. These include Japanese, Koreans, Miao (Chinese Hmong), Mongolians, Vietnamese, Tibetans, the Nepalese and the Bhutanese (see Losar).
Chinese New Year is also the time of the the largest human migration, when Chinese all around the world travel home to have reunion dinners with their families on Chinese New Year's eve.

According to legend, in ancient China, the nián (年), a man-eating beast from the mountains, could silently infiltrate houses to prey on humans. The people later learned that the nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the color red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations. Guò nián (Simplified Chinese: 过年; Traditional Chinese: 過年), which means to celebrate the new year, literally means the passing of the nian beast.

Happy Year of the Boar.