In many of the Asian cultures, New Year is a very special time and the festivities usually last for a fortnight. Although many still celebrate it according to the Chinese calendar, mine has adapted it to the Gregorian calendar and the festivities have been toned down and/or abbreviated. Nevertheless, we do still see bits and pieces of them here and there if we choose to notice.
One such bits is called the “Little New Year” which marks the end of the New Year festivities (as opposed to the New Year Day being the “Big New Year” to mark the beginning of the festive period). The name and the time at which it is celebrated were brought into my culture from China, but over the years it has taken on different meanings for us.
How it is celebrated varies among regions, but one commonly observed across the nation is the burning of new year decorations. The flame produced through this activity is thought to be full of the holy spirits that have come to reside in the decorations, and by bathing in its heat and using it to cook the last of the festive foods, we believe the spirits come on and inside us.
Today, I went to a place where I could see a bit of this bits…
An old building preserved within a historical museum in my town
… and saw how the “Little New Year” was celebrated by the people who lived here:
By the fire, with “Little New Year” decoration in the back… and a museum staff with a gorgeous smile!
The decoration on a closer look – can you guess what it is made of and what it is supposed to represent?
Here is a little hint:
A picture showing the making of the decoration
The red and white balls are rice cakes about the size of ping-pong balls, and they are stuck onto trees with many branchesIt is supposed to represent the blooming of a bountiful tree, and made with the wish that the new year will be filled with good luck and prosperity so that many fruits will bear and can be successfully harvested.
And on “Little New Year,” these rice cake balls are cooked with red beans – believed to fend off evil – and served to family and friends to internalize all wishes for a bountiful year. The rice cake balls here were not served to the museum visitors for food safety and sanitation reasons, but I believe the wishes were surely shared among all of us sitting around the fire:
Maybe it was like this in the olden days as well?
My people affected by the big earthquakes last April must be wishing more than ever for a bountiful year this year, rebuilding their lives from scratch. So, for “Little New Year” this year, I really wanted to wish a bountiful year especially for them by visiting this museum.
Maybe you can join me in sending wishes for a bountiful year to my people?
As with all but one previous get well messages which started with sending flower power, I do not wish to ask of you anything special or extraordinary. Only that, if you know of a tradition, in your culture as a whole or just within your family, to wish nothing but good for the new year, you would kindly share it with my people.
Maybe you can take a snapshot of how you wished for a bountiful year during New Year festivities and post it on your site?
And maybe you can let me know by leaving a comment?
Once again, there is no need for you to go out of your way. Maybe New Year means different things to us, but I am quite certain we all make wishes for the new year to be a good one… if you do not mind, I would love to know what you have wished!
Thank you to everyone, new and old, for stopping by here to read through my post(s). I appreciate very much your every view, like, and comment… they are like rice ball cakes on my tree that I hope to make bountiful for both you and me! I wish you all a year filled with good luck and prosperity so that you will have many dreams and they will successfully come true.