Today began the Year of the Rabbit according to many Asian culturesso I want to I wish you all a wonderful Lunar New Year! I I hope it brings you all the luck, success, fun, money, good health, quality time with the people you love, sex (and hopefully good too) and whatever you dream up.
do you know that This was the first year that I actually celebrated Chinese New Year in China, so I would like to take this occasion to tell you what my experience was like. So yeah, today I’m not going to talk to you about fields of view or frames per second, but about fun and food…which are much more interesting. The life of a travel blogger is more interesting than the life of a VR blogger, maybe I should consider a career change 🙂
Before I tell you about my experience, I just want to point out that China is a huge and heterogeneous country, so the experience you had may differ from that of other people you know in the country. I’m in Qingdao, which is on the eastern side of the country, and also quite north, and I’m sure things in other cities like Shenzhen, which is farther south, might not be quite the same. So don’t take my experience as an example of what’s happening in all of China… It’s just my experience.
My expectations for the Chinese New Year celebrations were the same as those of the American movie years. In many films, the main characters find themselves in the Chinese city of some major American city, just at the time when the New Year celebrations are taking place. And in these sequences, I could always see Many people are chanting in the streets While there were a lot of red lanterns in the sky and The performers create long dragons that move around, While some ritual songs are played in the background. I was especially curious to see the dragons show. And I’m still curious that none of this happened.
The festivities here were much different than I expected. First of all, I get it Most of the time, it is about spending some quality time with your family members. It’s not about serious parties, or things like that, it’s more about getting home, preparing for celebrations with your family, cooking with them, eating with them, and just enjoying your personal connections. It’s not even about doing crazy things with your family, like bungee jumping, it’s just about being together. It’s a bit like Christmas for us Italians: You stay with your loved ones, eat a lot, and give gifts to each other. I served some good food to my hosts, and they gave me back the lovely toy bunny you see in the profile picture. And just like at Christmas, general activities are not so important. I asked about the dragon show and was told that sometimes Qingdao organizes some public events for the new year, but it’s not every year, and usually, Dragons do not play a relevant role here. Damn, this has shattered my dreams.
Then I got it Food is also very important. When I got home in the early afternoon, the parents of the family started making me taste some Chinese food that is not usually available outside. I know a little Chinese, but I’m not skilled enough to be able to maintain a full family conversation, so Wherever I don’t know what to say, I ate things. As they talked so much, and understood so little, I spent the whole afternoon eating too much. I had already eaten enough when dinner was ready, and it was full of delicious homemade Chinese food, this I ate until my stomach exploded. While I was recovering from the effort, someone asked me “Would you like some sweets?”. I’d literally explode, but I’m Italian, and I can’t say no when someone offers me some sweet food. So I’m used to My secondary stomach is too devoted to sweets to eat some amazing cake.
I was like a blowfish lying on the sofa and my stomach exploded when the daughter of the family told me “Now we are making dumplings”.
No, seriously, I wanted to invoke the Geneva Convention to avoid making dumplings. But it is a traditional thing for families in northern China, and saying no would be very offensive, so I helped them make dumplings. I was hoping we could make it and leave it on the table like a decoration, but the steps after that were cooked and eaten. I was given a full plate of meat pies, which were amazing. Yesterday I found out that I also have a third stomach for dumplings. Which is a good thing and could still come in handy in the future.
Back on the sofa, I thought that all the food I ate that day could be used to solve world hunger. And after a while, I got a new question: “Do you want to eat some fruit?”.
Turns out the only dragons I saw were in my gut all night.
The other thing that surprised me was the fireworks. All evening, people were setting off fireworks, fireworks, and other similar items, all over the city. When I looked out the window, I could see that in whatever direction I looked, someone was in that part of town blowing something up. We also launched things to celebrate the New Year in Italy, but this was on another level: fireworks everywhere, all night long. When I went out to light some sparklers myself too (to avoid eating for 10 minutes), There was a constant noise of explosions… It was like being in a war zone. I’ve been told that the level of fireworks is still underwhelming when compared to five years ago… And if that is disappointing, I can’t imagine the explosions in the past. I’ve been told that doing bangs is traditional to ward off evil spirits for the new year, so it’s part of the festivities.
Something I did not expect at all was that people would light bonfires on the street sides and burn a special kind of paper to remember their ancestors and send them some kind of gift. There is a special day dedicated to this celebration, but many people here were still doing this ritual on New Year’s Eve because it is a very important day. I didn’t take a picture of the disrespect of this intimate moment, but in any case it was something very unique to me, especially since the taxi that brought me home had to dodge a few of them.
The TV is set to CCTV 1, which is the main TV channel here. There was a TV show dedicated to the new year, with some fun sketches and some traditional songs and ballets. The problem is that it’s already hard for me to understand Chinese, and this show didn’t even have subtitles, so I was completely lost. I looked at the pictures most of the time, but even here I didn’t see any dragons. Damn, they really wanted to make it hard for me. But in the entire show, I managed to get one joke right, so at least I had a laugh. This was a net positive, because I’m afraid laughing so much my stomach might explode, so Not understanding anything saved my life. In Italy, when we celebrate the solar new year, we usually have a timer all the time displayed on the screen, but it turns out that in the CCTV show they only start counting down when it’s -10 seconds to midnight. I WAS TOTALLY COOL WHEN OHMYGODITS10SECONDSNOWWEHAVETOMAKEATOAST. It was as if the firefighters heard the bell and had to hurry up and go put out some fire. Emergency mode was activated: I had to immediately get ready for the celebration.
In the middle of the night I had a little joy. I decided to sample the Chinese beijiu, which I was told in the past by some of my friends tasted like gasoline. Drinking a sip from a bottle bought at the supermarket, I can confirm that it tastes like petrol, and given the price of fuel in Italy at present, I think we should consider it a viable alternative to put in our cars.
At the end of the day, I can tell you that Spending the Lunar New Year here was an enjoyable experience. It was very different than I expected, more personal and intimate than insanely fun, but I’m glad I experienced it. And with that warmth in my heart, Once again I wish you a wonderful Chinese New Year and a Happy Sunday! And I hope you see some dragons too…
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