Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!

Happy Chinese New Year!

What? What’s that you say?

Chinese New Year was February 3rd? This post is late, late, late?

Well, my friends you are wrong. The Chinese, in all of their infinite wisdom, had the foresight  all those thousands of years ago to make Chine New Year 15 days long. You heard right. Fifteen days.

So if you do the math, you will discover that this post is not late at all. It’s just at the end of the celebration, not the beginning. And I hope you have a few minutes because I got a few (OK, 30 some) pictures  to show you.

Yes, we have been rockin’ the Year of the Rabbit the entire time. So here is the big wrap up of all of the festivities.  

We started by decorating the house. These are authentic lanterns purchased in China.IMG_5418

And this is an authentic fire cracker-y looking door hanging purchased from the local Asian Market.IMG_5419

And these are some cheesy Chinese New Year decorations purchased from a really cheap party catalog.IMG_5420IMG_5421IMG_5422Cheesey yes, but I bet its more that the rest of you have, am I right?

To start the new year, Molly and I cleaned the house. This is a Chinese tradition which is intended to sweep out the bad luck. And it’s a great way to get your kid to help you with the housework. Another example of Chinese wisdom, if you ask me.

Next, we prepared a dinner of traditional Chinese food. We had noodles to give us long life, dumplings for prosperity, and beef with broccoli because, well it is one of the few Chinese dishes that I am good at making.IMG_5441Molly got a Chinese New Year book and a Hong Bao. A Hong Bao is a red envelope filled with money. She totally gets money and was excited to get four crisp dollar bills; one for each year she’s been alive.

Here’s my little dumpling eating her little dumpling. Molly is actually pretty good at using chopsticks but opted for the one chopstick spear method for this one.IMG_5444

The next day, Molly wore a traditional silk dress to school and was the envy of all of the little girls in her class.IMG_5452

Later in the week, Molly completed this Chinese Zodiac project. Molly is a Dog and I am a Dragon. The Dragon is the only sign that the Dog is supposed to avoid. Hmmmm, maybe that’s why we are always butting heads!IMG_5458

Last weekend our Families With Children from China (FCC) hosted a huge Chinese New Year Celebration. Our organization is very large and I can’t even begin to list all of the wonderful things they do. Molly’s Chinese language, dance and choir classes are all organized by FCC. In addition, they sponsor many, many events throughout the year. Molly’s China playgroup sprang from our association with our FCC. Their influence on Molly has been huge. She is so proud of her culture and has such confidence about being in a mixed-race family.

For as shy as Molly can be sometimes, she loves to perform. She was excited that she got to be in two performances at CNY this year. Here are the girls in her dance class posing for pictures before their time on stage.IMG_5459

Last year Mia was in dance, but Molly wasn’t. She was overjoyed that this year she would be dancing with Mia. Can you tell?IMG_5460

Before all of the performances began, the girls had plenty of time for crafts.IMG_5461

Year of the RabbitIMG_5462

Molly and Mia coloring dragon fans.IMG_5463

After crafts, we ate a big Chinese meal (alas, no beef with broccoli) and then it was time for the main event.The performances started out with the traditional Lion Dance. So much fun to watch!IMG_5464

A few last minute instructions before they danced.IMG_5466Right before her performance, Molly dropped to the floor, stuck her head out from underneath the curtain and shouted, “Hi, Dad!” It was met with laugher from everyone in the first 10 rows. That’s my girl!

And the moment you have all been waiting for…the big dance!

What grace!IMG_5467

What coordination!IMG_5468

What timing…well, two out of three ain’t bad! Yes, that’s Molly turning while everyone else is facing forward!IMG_5469

Back on track.IMG_5470IMG_5471

Bravo! Encore! Encore!IMG_5472Alas, no encore as this is the only dance they know. Oh well.

The dynamic duo after their performance.IMG_5510

Lots of other groups also had their turn on stage. Every age group has their own dance class. It is so fun to see where Molly will be heading in the years to come.IMG_5540IMG_5543IMG_5545

Here’s the amazing Chinese yoyo guy. I wish I had video. It’s hard to believe that a guy with two sticks, some string and an hourglass-shaped spool could be so entertaining, but he had us all mesmerized!IMG_5548

Molly’s next performance was with her choir. This is a multi-aged group and they did an outstanding job. The older girls helped the younger ones so much throughout the year. They are such good role-models. Here’s a little sample of Molly singing, sort of.IMG_5555

What she lacked in volume, she made up with motions.IMG_5560IMG_5562

Taking a bow.IMG_5564

The older girls also had their own vocal performance. Very talented! IMG_5565

Molly and Mia entranced by all of the performances. IMG_5569

The event ended with the kids getting Hong Bao and rice fish. IMG_5571

The girls get their goodies.IMG_5573

Then show them off for the mammas.IMG_5575

Our Happy Family!IMG_5578

“Fireworks” IMG_5584The younger kids stomped on bubble wrap while the olders stomped on balloons. Not really fireworks, but it sure sounded like it and the kids thought it was awesome.

Time for one last picture with Avery before heading out the door.IMG_5585

And that’s our Chines New Year…All fifteen days of it.

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!

1 comment:

Trisha said...

Oh man, those dance pictures were way too cute! I applaud you (and the FCC) for organizing such great pathways to these childrens' culture. Molly is very lucky.