It´s that time of the year again, the SpringFestival, a time for celebrations and fam-ily. While I have becn living in China forquite some time and the Spring Festivalhas become more and more familiar to meeach year, I think the most exating year for mewould have to have been the first time I expePrienced Spring Festival. I wasn´t sure exactlywhat would happen, but it´s a night that turnedout to bc an unforgettabie experience.
As an American looking back, I thinkprobably the most exciting and fun thing aboutthe Spring Festival for me would be playingwith the fireworks. I can still remember whenI was young and we would celebrate Inde-pendence Day in the U.S., we would alwaysplay with fireworks as the sky became dark.Unfortunately, after a few years playing withfireworks was banned in my city, and in manyother places across the U.S. since the risk offireis too great. While this was for the good ofthecommunityfand increased safety, it also tookaway one of the most exciting and representa-tive parts of our National Day Luckily, how-ever, China´s tradition offireworks lives on.
While the symbolism of the Chineseuse of fireworks during the Spring Festival isdifferent (being used as a means to ward off evil spirits), it doesn´t mean playing with themare any less fun. On the contrary, I think thefireworks available in China are much biggerand more impressive than anything found inthe U.S., which makes sense given that Chinais the birthplace offireworks. During that first Spring Festivalin China I remember noticingthe fireworks shops popping up around thecity, but I didn´t pay much attention to them.Then, on New Year´s Eve we stopped at oneon the way to my wife´s family celebration (sheis Chinese),l was both surprised and awed bythe vast selection they had, and maybe I wenta little crazy, spending a few hundred RMBon that night´s entertainment.
After loading up the trunk of our car, wecontinued on to my wife´s parents house wherewe would celebrate. As many have said before,the focus of Spring Festival is spending timewith family, and in that respectit is very similarwith Christmas in the U.S. It was very relaxedand comfortable, enjoying a nice meal togetherand chatting. The food ofcourse was great, andit was very interesting to experience all of theunique Chinese traditions related to SpringFestival for the first time. However, maybe it´sjust me, or maybe there are others that sharemy feeling, but I kept looking back at my pileof fireworks near the door, then checking mywatch to see how much longer until midnight.These fireworks needed to be set off!