Chinese New Year
Story by Xiao Guang

Our new friend Xiao Guang had an adventurous Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival holiday. Below is his story, in original on the left and then edited on the right.

Other readers please send in your delightful stories and pictures here.

This year's Spring Festival

This year, the first day of the Spring Festival is on the February 10th. My wife, daughters and I were all in my parents' house for dinner, watching TV, chat, make dumplings, light off firecrackers etc like something related in the Festival. (why must light off firecrackers during the spring festival? because according to very old legend, long long ago, there is a monster name of a "nian", every year on this day, would came from mountain and harm people, but the monster can be scared with fire, sound from burning bamboo. So, people on this day each year to light firecrackers to scare the monster away then this year will be safe) In the morning of the day I went to the surrounding neighbor's home to have the Spring Festival greetings specially to the elders, said good, healthy, happy new year to them. The neighbor young to do the same thing to my parents at same time.

‘‘‘ The second day of the Spring Festival, my family went to my mother's house in law ( my father in law had died eight years ago) where my wife's older sister's two kids also went there and we have had’lunch together. I cooked for everyone as usual. ( My wife's sister had died ten years ago, her husband has married again) I took some pictures for remembering. This courtyard was showed in picture is her brother's house. ( In China, usually the villagers live in the house in countryside, citizens live in an apartment in city.) My family to go to there by Bus. ( You would see local Chinese people crowded in it.)

‘‘‘ The third day I went to my oldest sister's by train (very few people on the train, because this time, people had returned to their home) to become a driver and carry their family come to the city I live because my brother in law worry about or not sure if he can drive their car come the city I live safely. My brother in law is not good at driving. ( my sister's have not came here and meet our parents for two years) The province my sister's live call Shanxi province where is also my hometown that my father was born there where the province lie on Taihang mountain. That mean We drove down from the mountains, to go through a lot of tunnel, bridge.The scenery of side of the freeway or super highway is very beautiful. But in fact, I was not the driver and my brother in law had been driving their car from their city to my city and spend almost four hours in a 200 miles distance. ( he side he felt very relaxed because I was just sitting in the co-pilot position.) lol. I had done a stupid thing at that day, I was bit by a very little dog when I got off train and wait for bus to come to my sister's home. I saw a little beautiful dog, very little but not find any adult beside it so I thought the dog is a stray dog then just want to take it in my hand, oh, the little guy bit me quickly. When I went to my sister's and my brother call phone to local Epidemic prevention station, ask if there was a doctor on duty, he wanted me to get an injection of rabies vaccine. But No doctor on duty from another side of the phone, because the Spring Festival holiday in there. So My sister decided to start early come to the city I live next morning because the city I live always have Doctor on duty. Yesterday in the noon I got the first injection, following is four times, ha ha ha.

‘‘‘ Next day in the morning my sister's had came back their city. My father call me and let my family go to their home for dinner because too much food has been leaved, let us go there and help them to eat tomorrow, lol. The day after tomorrow I will go to office. But the Chinese New year is not over and will really over on the 26th February.

Spring Festival ~ 2013

The Spring Festival is on the 10th of February this year. We were all at my parents' house for dinner, my wife, my daughters and I, doing the usual things related to the Festival, like watching TV, chatting, cooking dumplings and lighting firecrackers.

Do you know why we light firecrackers during the spring festival? according to a very old legend, a long long time ago, there was a monster name of 'nian', who would descend from the mountain every year on this day to harm people. But he could be scared off by lighting fires and the sound from burning bamboo. Hence the tradition of people lighting firecrackers on the New Years Day, to scare the monster off and keep safe during the year.

Another tradition is that the younger men from a family goes to greet the elders of the neighbouring families and wish them a good, healthy and Happy New Year. I went to my parent's neighbours' home and their young men came to see my parents at the same time.

The second day of the Spring Festival we set off together, in a crowded bus, to go to my mother-in-law's house (windowed for the past eight years) for lunch. My wife's older sister's two kids also came on that day, whereas their mother died ten years ago but their father remarried.  I cooked for everyone as usual and we took photos, for our memories albums. In China villagers usually live in a house in the countryside, whereas citizens live in an apartment in the city.

By the third day of the Spring Festival most of the people usually return home for work, but we travelled by train to my older sister's, in the Shanxi Province. That's where my hometown is, where my father was born, on Taihang mountain. They didn't come to see us, in fact they didn't visit our parents for two years now, for fear of my brother-in-law's bad driving skills. With me as a co-pilot, he could drive us down from the mountain, through a tunnel, over a bridge, passing beautiful scenery on the side of the highway, doing 200 miles in almost 4 hours.

I had an incident on that day: seeing a beautiful little dog unaccompanied when we got off the train. Thinking it was stray, I wanted to pick him up but he was quick to bite me! No doctor was on duty at the Epidemic Prevention Station, due to the Spring Festival holiday, so my sister decided we should go home the very next morning, where there always is a doctor on duty. Not only did I get my injection, for another four followed it - silly me, ha, ha!

The following day my sister went back to her home and we had a call from my parents, asking for reinforcements to help eat all the food that was left over from the New Year's dinner, which we did as well!

A day later I went back to work, but the Chinese New Year didn't frizzle out until the 26th of February.

This was a New Year's holiday to remember! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Other readers, please send in your story with pictures, by using this form.