Kung Hei Fat Choy

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Happy Chinese New Year!  We had absolutely gorgeous weather which made enjoying the many festivities of this new holiday (new to us) even better.  This year’s celebrations were all about the traditional Lion Dances, Lei Sei, tangerine trees, fireworks, and of course horses.  It is after all the year of the horse.

Our social calendar has been crammed, which has been so fun, yet so exhausting (in the best possible way).  The girls had a week off of school, so I’ve had to keep them busy.  We spent actual Chinese New Year at Shek O beach with two other families and it was Ah-mazing.  Did I mention the weather?! The girls were swimming in the ocean and the adults lounged carefully watched the kids from beach chairs.  After the beach we headed to a tiny hidden restaurant called The Black Sheep.  Although it certainly isn’t hidden from the world.  It’s a very popular place to dine among the expat community.  Nonetheless, the food it good, and the atmosphere…interesting.  After dinner we enjoyed a traditional lion dance that came through the restaurant as a blessing or fortune of good luck.  The dancers (usually two per lion) are rewarded if they can collect a bunch of green vegetables (mostly lettuce and cabbage) which is called Choi which sounds like fortune in Chinese.  The Choi is usually hung in an entryway or sometimes from a balcony.  The veggie bunch also has money or lei sei intertwined within, they say the higher the veggies the bigger the monetary reward.  The lions are accompanied with drums and symbols and they are loud.  In general someone could better explain the whole process and meaning but in any case the costumes are beautiful and it is a great experience to be part of.

The girls and I spend a lot of time with these two special families.  The Bonzanos are Italian-American and came from D.C. The Van Staalduinen’s are Dutch and moved here from Germany.  We all arrived here in Hong Kong this summer and met through the girls school.  Our week/weekend also included a family walk/hike with friends and another lion dance at the American Club, the most chaotic trip to the science museum to see a special dinosaur exhibit, crafting, and working on our playroom.

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