Monday, February 1, 2010

Bench Monday :: Gong Xi Fa Chai!

Bench Monday :: Gong Xi Fa Chai!

I started pulling out the Chinese New Year decorations today, now that it's February already, and we have our potluck gathering coming up at the end of the week. And though we're not Chinese, we connect with the traditions that honor the coming spring and we share the desire to spruce up our home and invite family and friends to share a meal and wish them luck in the new year. In our own spiritual tradition of Imbolg, we too celebrate the quickening of the earth, all things red, spring cleaning and the rituals of calling forth prosperity and lighting the fires of creativity within us.

There's something extra special about all these paper decorations in brilliant cherry reds and orchid pinks contrasting against the icy winter.

cherry red
paper lanterns
big red lantern

During the first winter in this house (2003), I was inspired by these pages (Febrary/March 2003 issue) in the now defunct Mary Englebreit's Home Companion magazine.

We had our first Chinese New Year gathering that year. We do it potluck style and everyone brings something Asian to share. We've had everything from Indian curries, lychees and French vanilla ice cream to pad thai and homemade egg rolls for dinner. We aren't too picky, it's all meant to be fun and it's always delicious. Though not specifically Chinese, Alex always rolls his own California sushi, as well as his always popular and kid-friendly peanut butter and cucumber combo. We've collected a few fabulous Chinese folk song cds (have a listen) and we continue to gather more decorations as the years fly by.

If you are local, be sure to check out this always wonderful Chinese New Year event. Oh, and here's a local artist providing more amazing inspiration. I love this celebration, for it's color and sounds, good food and beautiful rituals and traditions, that we all find so important this time of year when it can sometimes be challenging to wait for spring. Chinese New Year reminds us that spring is coming and soon enough we won't need to hang paper lanterns for that hint of warmth and color, because it will be just outside our doors.

Gong Xi Fa Chai!


  1. i just started thinking about chinese new year today while at the library. must have been a book cover that got me thinking, but now you've inspired me to do a little decorating. i've been needing an excuse to buy some paper umbrellas :) i surely miss ME's Home Companion. thank you for sharing! love your bench monday picture!

  2. Hi Molly, oh yes, must get yourself some paper umbrellas, for sure! I miss Home Companion also. Many thanks!



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