The News Lens
By: Rick Charette
Are you spending Lunar New Year in Taipei? Immerse yourself with local traditions by visiting the New Year markets and indulging in holiday sweets.As with Christmas, the Lunar New Year holidays are essentially a time of thankfulness — of festive family reunions and get-togethers with one’s dearest relatives and friends. And as with the Christmas season run-up to the big day, the period leading up to the first day of the Lunar New Year brims with warm, gleeful feelings and excited anticipation.
A cherished cultural centerpiece of these lead-in weeks is the joy of heading to busy and colorful New Year markets to stock up on nianhuo (年貨), literally “New Year goods,” meaning all the goodies, decorations, and other traditional items that fill homes with auspicious symbolism. There’s an impressive amount of stocking up to do, for during the long holidays there is near constant feasting and entertaining. Most food and snack items are bought beforehand, because most retail operators shut down operations, at least for the first few days of the holiday.
Every year in anticipation of the Lunar New Year, crowds flow into New Year markets in Taipei to shop and prepare for the holiday.
A Historical Aside: One theory on the determined holiday partying — throughout much of Chinese history, over 90 percent of the population have been farm folk, tedious work filling almost all days, the monotony interrupted only by a few annual festival breaks. People made the most of these, letting loose with abundance in all sensory stimulations, filling the celebrations with food, noise, and color. In the home, abundance in this is itself auspicious, inviting good fortune to flow in freely all through the year to come. [FULL STORY]