Holiday Consolidation

The Chinese New Year Festival is underway. It’ll go on for a couple weeks. A lot of businesses will be closed the whole time. Quite a grocery shopping frenzy leading up to the day before the festival. But most of the big stores are open, as we enter the time of year where a billion typically frugal Chinese are ready to blow some cash.


This is the big holiday – and just about the only one recognizable as a major holiday in western terms as far as I can tell. Most other holidays are pretty hard to distinguish from normal days, and the celebrations are fairly low-key. Not so with the Spring Festival. And it makes us for the rest handily. It’s like all the major American holidays rolled into one. It’s got the feasting, family time, and TV-watching of Thanksgiving, the crazed shopping, big spending, and relative cultural importance of Christmas, plus the fireworks and national pride of Independence Day. And it’s the time off of work of all the holidays put together, too…


And don’t get me started on the fireworks. My wife never tires of them. I like fireworks. Maybe an hour of them. A week of them is a little much. The last few hours before the new year the noise really starts to escalate, though. You could look out any window in any direction and see fireworks going off in a dozen places. It sounds like a war is going on outside. Fireworks right on the city streets is a little bizarre. Noise bounces off all the buildings. Plus we’re on the ninth floor, so most of the big fireworks explode right in front of our windows. Seriously, you open the windows and burning junk flies into your house. The entire city is just a smoky mess for hours and hours.


And they get a kick out of the ones that just make noise, too. No colorful sparks or anything. Just a solid minute of deafening explosions. These ones make the biggest mess, too. Two days after the festival began now, and the streets are still covered in scraps of charred red paper. Really amazing.


Holidays are a good reminder of a cultural gap. When you see the whole city going crazy, and you just don’t care – there’s still a disconnect. Part of cultural adaptation, then, is learning to care – to do the traditional stuff, to feel like this is your holiday, even if you don’t.


4 Comments on “Holiday Consolidation”

  1. Peggy February 19, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Thank you for this eye-witness testimony of the Chinese New Year! It reminds me that you are also an eye-witness to the good news of Christ’s sacrifice. May God give you many opportunities during this holiday to share Him with those who need Him. I’m praying for you and your work.

  2. Mike March 1, 2009 at 3:28 am #

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  3. Darrell Cox March 3, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Hey Brother: I just wanted to take a moment to say hello. I hope you and your family if doing well. Give me number so I can reach you and I will call you every once in awhile to make sure you are being good.

    Darrell Cox

  4. Peggy March 23, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    Just wondering if you are on furlough or holiday? Miss your posts!

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