With all the repairmen traipsing in and out and swapping out refrigerators with the contents plus all the cleaning for Chinese New Year I was thinking I’d be too worn out to celebrate. Being a cat dominated household we don’t do fireworks and I did not get to the city to do special shopping but I always have enough things on hand to make do. My birthday doesn’t usually fall on New Years Day, as it does this year and did when I was born. I would have to check the Chinese almanac to know when the last time was. So I really wanted to be able to enjoy it. As it turned out I got most things taken care of and was able to have a nice supper on the New Year’s Eve. Thursday was not too cold but the wind was really strong so it felt that way so I was happy to stay in.
I cleaned the debris out of the bathtub and took a nice long shower without worrying about a jury-rigged handle coming off. I wanted to be sure to get it done before New Year’s day but also I was so glad to be able to do it. Washing your hair on the first days of the New Year is traditionally thought to wash away prosperity, as does clothes washing. The first two days of the New Year are the days of Shuishen 水神, the Water God, so you don’t want to create dirty water. Also, in the Chinese language, characters can have the same pronunciation but multiple meanings. The character for hair (发) is pronounced fa. The fa in facai (发财), which means ‘to become wealthy’, is not only the same sound but actually the same character. Therefore, washing the ‘fa’ is seen to symbolize washing away wealth.
I also spent some time rummaging through my food supplies to see what my new Year’s Eve feast would consist of. Friday morning I started the cooking. I enjoy cooking so this was relaxing. Normally this meal is a big family affair for Chinese but I shared it with my feline family. There is an long list of traditional foods, some of which I did not have either because of not having the refrigerator or not being able to get to the city to shop. The one I miss the most is jaodzi, but I eat them all year long. I did have spring roll wrappers, so I made those. I actually had a whole fish in the chest freezer so the really important dish was on the menu. In Chinese, the word for fish 鱼is pronounced yu, which also sounds like the word for surplus. No special longevity noodles on hand so I substituted long Korean cellophane noodles and made ‘ants climbing a tree’ which also has pork in it. At my age and on my birthday I need those longevity noodles.
The cats are not much interested in the greens, fruit, rice or noodles but I made sure they had the opportunity for fish and pork. They are not big on people food as a rule but they always get a chance to try a small amount of safe food. I missed Tony, he loved pork and I would have made him his own tiny unseasoned meatballs. All in all, I think I did pretty well with all that has gone on in the last few months of the year. I look forward to the Year of the Rooster.