Monday, 23 January 2012 15:36

The Year of the Dragon is Upon Us!

Written by  Ken Ku
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Luck Luck Ken Ku

On the first day of the New Year, which starts at Midnight, it is customary to give a red envelope which contains money and this is probably the part that people are most familiar with.  Aside from giving red envelopes to unmarried children/juniors, there is also the fact that some people abstain from eating meat, not using knives or lighting fires (i.e. not using the kitchen), not throwing out garbage, etc.  Also to keep away evil sprits there used to be the lighting of firecrackers in the front courtyard and hiring Lion dancers.  All this to make sure that the upcoming year is prosperous.

I heard some people setting off a string of firecrackers off in the distance right at Midnight so it definitely is still in practice here in Taiwan but I don't know where it was.  Definitely was not in the area where I live, perhaps way out in the farming communities or the suburban areas by the mountain.  There is another tradition here where people turn on all the lights in the house to ward off evil spirits.

In the past, when kids/teens got their money from the red envelopes, they would play cards.  Now they all go shop.  I went out to do a little bit of shopping yesterday and the mall was INSANE!  There were hordes of people everywhere.  Everything was on sale.  It isn't just the 20-40% off kind of sale.  It was 40% then if you make X-amount you take an additional $X plus you get $X in gift certificates.  I felt like I was making money while shopping!  What?

Ken Ku

Ken Ku

A photographer/printmaker/perpetual wanderer going on a backpacking adventure around the world.  Follow my journey as I discover new places and meet new people!



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