Another Chinese New Year celebration means a series of unreasonable gluttony, episodes of delirium, and a caboodle of dough. I’d say this festivity is the equivalent of Thanksgiving in the US–a time to give a little thanks, and a whole lot of turkey- and pie-nibbling, and at the end of it all: bite blackout (aka food coma). Although their seasons and customs differ, both holiday feasts cause us to loosen our belts, defenseless. One element unique to Chinese New Year present and most sought after (along with the pork dishes): hong bao–the infamous red envelopes containing “lucky money.”
It fascinates me that in Chinese culture, so much of what Chinese people associate to be “good” always involves wealth, in luck and/or money. It’s hard to miss the color red, which signifies luck, in traditional Chinese New Year decor, symbol, and wear. So much of what the Chinese culture strives for, one way or another, entails and implicates wealth. To say that money equals happiness wouldn’t be an overstatement. Yes, I don’t completely disagree. But I’d say that money facilitates happiness. An extremely oversimplified statement, I know, on which I won’t further elaborate in light of wanting to save another hefty discussion for another occasion.
Contrastingly, in the West, happiness is happiness. Compared to the way Chinese view happiness (which is, for the most part, in the form of tangible wealth), the Western view believes that the point of living is to find happiness. Granted, more often than not, wealth will most likely be involved in this path towards finding happiness. But happiness, not wealth, is the means as well as the end.
All that being said, being a happy participant of family reunions surrounding what seems to be an endless and everlasting buffet and a happy recipient of red envelopes (these are limited, unfortunately), I can’t really complain. To add to that, I finally decided, for the first time at Chinese New Year, to sport a cheongsam this year! Thanks to Mandarin Peony, I got many compliments from it and vow to always wear a traditional Chinese ensemble on Chinese New Year. Granted, it’s tight and all and I have to always maintain good posture and not walk like a dude but the fit didn’t stop me from eating or moving about like a clumsy duck that I am. Pairing the frock with a pair of pale pink Louboutin peep-toed heels, pearls, red hot nails, and my hair up in a bun, I was good to go!