I picked up Thanksgiving and Christmas again in 2013.
In the past several years staying in US, I have been dressing up in these traditions not native to my own culture. Anyone in a foreign country do that. We cook meals, decorate trees, exchange gifts, and hope we’ll also find the deep, emotional complexity inherent in the festivities.
But when your closest family and friends aren’t there to play the crucial roles, dressing up turns in to half-hearted copycat rituals.
So I’ve stopped celebrating holidays, including Chinese New Year.
San Francisco is not a stranger to dressing up. Every culture find the urge to share or to be seen. Dressing up in these culture is the way to see the world, even if it’s weird seeing Caltrain dressing up as a huge Giants fan. Or seeing a tourist shop being much more enthusiastic about Chinese New Year than me. Should I frown at the cheap exploitation? Or feel ashamed I’m not living the culture myself?
But we can’t help but dip in multiple layers of ethnicity, hometowns, and communities. We, travelers who enjoy this city. Sometimes we can only scratch surfaces. Sometimes we know where our true roots are. I look at my own culture like a foreigner, and visualize myself participate in foreign culture like a native.
January 30th, the lunar NYE, will lead to lunar New Year Day on Friday, Jan 31st.
How has the Chinese New Year present itself to you this year?
Dressing up is fun. Fun throws us into the moment, light-hearted and open-hearted. That’s the wonderful holiday season local San Francisco friends gave me in 2013.
Here’s to the community we share……
Happy Chinese New Year of the Horse!