Last night was China's Xiao Nian, or Little New Year, which marks the fact that in one week, the Chinese New Year arrives. This holiday is so vast in its festivities and importance that it seems to envelope the entire country and virtually shut it down for the several weeks required to celebrate it.
This morning, we walked around and gazed at the remnants of last night's firework extravanganza. Fireworks are one of the main events in these coming weeks, and they are at once intrusive, obnoxious, glorious, exhilirating, out of control, and way better than any 4th of July (for you Americans) pansy celebration you may have attended (and some flying straight from your neighbors window mind you!).
Our first experience of Chun Jie, or Spring Festival (which is the Chinese New Year) was a lesson in positive thinking. I always think these things will mean a house full of cranky kids, up all night because they can't sleep, crying because of the war zone going on two feet from their head on the other side of the concrete apartment wall.
But in reality, they love it. They gaze for hours out the windows, exclaiming and oohing with awe. They love the jiaozi that is traditionally served. They fall asleep at the normal time, and stay that way until morning, even with all the canons booming and skies crackling until after midnight.
And then we get to wake up in the morning and look at the world littered with red snowflakes and burnt out boxes strewn across sidewalks and parking lots. We find little casings shaped like army tanks and hold them in our pockets like some treasure left by the New Year Fairy. It's all very exciting and wonderful, not hard and grumpy like I imagined it would be.
It's actually quite beautiful in it's own way,
especially in the morning light,
like most things are.