Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Year's Day. 

Last night was New Year's Eve. Not quite as wild as my community in Beijing, because the local folks here probably don't have the money for the kind of high dollar fireworks I have seen in Beijing. But it was plenty loud. There is not that much to say about local traditions, because the Han people are not local. As in other areas of Western China (and Taiwan in the mid 19th Century), Guizhou was inundated with Han people who migrated here from the east. They were not necessarily welcome, and the local Miao in Guizhou fought a series of wars to try to keep them out. China never really had control over the Miao people throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties. But the Miao actually helped Mao as he was moving through Guizhou Province on the long march. Perhaps they felt that the Communists were a good antidote to the established Chinese government. At any rate, today, communities in Guizhou are now largely Han. Pretty much like the rest of China, except that there seems to be more of the old tradition of cooking by coal.

The standard family activity on New Year's Eve in China is a national variety show that lasts four hours, from 8 pm to midnight. Perhaps the idea is to keep people occupied so that they are less likely to cause trouble. Of course there are always some who are not dissuaded. As midnight approaches, the fireworks increase, culminating in World War III just as midnight approaches.

I have never been able to determine which meal is the main meal. There is usually a big meal on New Year's Eve, with lots and lots of food. But during the New Year's Eve dinner, I heard people talking about the "big dinner tomorrow." Today, we had another big dinner. And this evening, a follow up dinner. All of them were characterized by lots and lots of food. I would be hard pressed to tell you which one is significantly more abundant than the others.

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