Tomorrow is the First Day of Spring on Chinese calendar, and we have a fun tradition in my homeland to welcome in the new season on its eve. We chant “demons out, fortunes in!” as we throw roasted soybeans at those disguised to be demons. In the distant past it used to have religious and political meanings, but nowadays most people take it as just another one of those festive events to enjoy.
I stand somewhere in the middle with my understanding of this tradition. I was taught by my parents, quite strict when it comes to traditions, that it was important not to allow demons to enter our house or they will grow in us just like plants do in the springtime and eat away at us. There was no kidding around when we threw beans out every opening that we could find in our house – doorways, windows, ducts, drains, toilets…
I continued on with this rather extensive ritual even when I started living on my own, until one year, one of my neighbours caught me throwing beans out my front door with a serious do-or-die attitude. He must have thought I was going crazy. He gave me a funny look for a moment but quickly turned away and went inside in a hurry. How embarrassing was I!
But it got me thinking. Why did my parents teach me to be so dreadfully thorough in chasing away the demons, almost to overkill?
Maybe it was their way of trying to protect me from all harms they could see coming my way.
Maybe it was their way of trying to safeguard me from all dangers they could imagine befalling on me.
Maybe it was their way of trying to keep me out of all trouble they could conceive me getting into.
Well, despite all their effort, demons that my parents never foresaw managed to find ways into me. I have to find my own ritual to defeat these demons, and I need to do so in my own time and space.
I wish everyone best of luck in fending off their demons tonight!