The Colour Red: Year of the Ox

Until I was exposed and then immersed on a daily basis in Chinese culture, I don't think I owned anything red, not a hankie, not a blouse, absolutely nothing.

Then I was introduced to how important red is in the Chinese culture. I was gifted with a magnificent red wall hanging from a Chinese colleague. And although she and another colleague from Peking were able to teach me about their respective countries, Taiwan and the People's Republic, the Chinese language classes they offered didn't get as far as I would have liked. The slightest change in vocal inflection can make a good word sound horrible. Ultimately I gave up and just developed the love of red.

At this time of the year, the New Year, China Towns all over the United States are ablaze in red, and stores are packed with envelops, stationary, wall hangings and even food in the brightest red dye permits.

The red envelops are used to give small money gifts, mostly to children, but even adults may share the holiday bounty with each other.

Eating dinner out is common all year long but at this time of the year, it is nearly impossible to find a seat in a recommended restaurant. Weddings are frequently celebrated in public restaurants decorated in red and depending on how prosperous the bride, ten, fifteen or even twenty-five courses can be served over the course of an entire evening.

Although these two colleagues have since returned to their countries, one left me a medicine box of natural herbal remedies, and the other gifted me with the colour red, the sound of her laugh in my ears, and a taste for good Chinese food.

Happy New Year!

No comments:

Post a Comment