Saturday, 9 February 2008
03:15:05 PM (GMT)
Sun Lein Fi Lok!
Yes, dear reader, Chinese New Year is finally here! (Well, technically is was two
days ago--on February 7th--but that's beside the point.) Besides, I was far to busy
being gloriously drowned in Lai See to update my diary!
Ah, I hear those of you not accustomed to zany Chinese tradition ask, What in the
world is this "Lai See" she speaks of? And what, pray tell, is that strange chain of
syllables at the top of the page (and in the title)? Well, wonder no more, my dear
compatriots of Kupika, for I shall put these questions to rest!
You see..."Sun Lein Fi Lok" (more or less--it's a bit hard to write Chinese in
English letters) means 'Happy New Year' in Cantonese Chinese. There are, of course,
several other Chinese dialects in which this traditional well-wishing is comprised of
several competely different words, but I grew up with this one.
(By the way...if anyone here happens to know the 'Happy New Year' phrase in, say,
Mandarin or one of the many other dialects of Chinese, could you please let me know
via comment? I'd really like to know!)
And the Lai See...Well, here's where we get to the part that just about every Chinese
kid in America looks forward to. The Lai See! Ah, even the syllables sound expensive!
You see, Lai See are those little red envelopes with gold writing on them that a few
of you might have seen in Asian movies, books, posters, etc. But that isn't the best
part. Oh, sure, the envelopes are quite pretty in their own right, but what is inside
them is the real treasure--Money! Glorious, beautiful, cold hard American dollars!
And, yay for us, most of it goes to the unmarried members of a traditionally gigantic
Sure, sometimes it's only a dollar (or just loose change), but it's still fun to
actually be given money for no other reason than you haven't managed to get hitched
Of course, another perk of Chinese New Year is the traditional monstrous FEAST of
Chinese food every New Year's Day...
Well, I'm off to gorge myself on the substantial leftovers of the meal! Bye!