I’m thinking of past Christmases and New Years as I awake in the dark this morning. I’m thinking that it would be much easier if it was in July. There would be no snow, heavy coats, scarves and boots, coughs or runny noses to deal with. Life would be lighter and easier…would it not?
I’m also thinking back to my childhood in China, of New Year’s Eve. Seems to me that is the only memory I have of a true celebration ….. a welcoming in of the new year and paying homage to the one past. That is my interpretation of the rituals, for I was but a child when I left my homeland. That is how I like to remember it.
I’m feeling my loss, as a child of immigrants to this country….the loss of my Chinese-ness, my culture, my heritage. But I have spent many more years here than there and I can never go home again. I am a stranger in both lands. Sometimes it is necessary to feel our pain and losses in order to move ahead. I have felt that pain many times. But I also have gained much because of that sense of loss.
I really do not want to dwell on pain and losses. They are not always real, but things our mind grab onto, maybe because of something someone said or done. Who knows what is in another’s mind or heart. And you cannot understand it so you write your own interpretation. You allow yourself to doubt and you let poison in. You hurt. How does that help? Better that we celebrate, however we can, to let in the light.
I like the Chinese ways of ushering in the new by cleaning and clearing out stale and stagnant chi. Gung Hee Fat Choy! Happy New Year! Chinese tradition is to bring the new year in with clean house, new clothes and to receive/give red envelopes of money ..symbol of prosperity. My childhood memory is of our house being warmed by the fires tended by the women in our family as they made sweets and dim sims in the night. Perhaps one day I will learn how to make some of them.
I’m sweeping out the debris of my mind, letting go of past grievances and hurts, opening my heart to receive all the goodness that there is in the universe. I am baking bread, , making soup, blessing our home. I am wearing the colour red, the colour of good fortune.
I am no longer a lost child. looking for my identity. I have found my Chinese self, Hafong, alias Lily, the born again Catholic, who admires the ways of Buddha . I am a Chinese woman living in Canada, a country in the Universe. And I am celebrating my life.