Monday, February 8, 2016

Celebrating the Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Today marks the Chinese New Year, the year of the Red Fire Monkey. I only know this because Jack (who lives in China) let us know that he would be traveling with friends to Taiwan and then on to Myanmar for the Chinese holiday.

From two years ago, when we traveled to China to visit Jack

I also was aware that it was the Chinese New Year today because our Chinese friend Shoating (aka Ting a Lin) sent us a wechat message this morning that included a virtual red envelope with 5.20 yuan of lucky money (about $.79) that is to be deposited into our virtual wallet. Thank you Shoating. What a thoughtful gesture!

Evidently this giving of money in a red packet is the thing to do when celebrating the Chinese New Year. It is a way of sending good wishes and luck. Wrapping money in red paper is hoped to bring happiness and blessings to the receivers. Oddly, the red packet is called  yasui qian, which means "suppressing ghosts money." Those who receive a red packet are wished another year negotiated safely and peacefully.

So this afternoon, I prepared a New Year's red packet for Jack and tucked it into a red Valentine's card. I love this mixing of cultures. But both messages are meant to let Jack know that we love him and wish him great happiness and blessings in the coming year, negotiated safely and peacefully.

Happy Year of the Red Fire Monkey to all – especially to Jack and his friends in China.

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