Thursday, February 10, 2011

Knee-How-Ma

I have no idea how you spell it in Chinese, but when you say "Hello" this is what it sounds like in Mandarin:

Knee-How-Ma?


It sounds so friendly when someone who knows what they are doing says it.  It does not sound friendly when I say it.  It sounds crazy.  I do not speak Chinese very well.  Once Matt tried to teach me "Thank you for helping me" so I could thank the computer tech at work.  I said "She She Ni Bong Ju Wa" and the computer tech said "Don't do that . . . it sounded terrible!!"   I gave up trying to say anything to her, except "Hello!" -- in English.

There was a lot of Knee-How-Ma going on last night at our annual Chinese New Year celebration.  I know -- it's a little strange that a bunch of white Americans love to celebrate this holiday, but we do -- Matt lived in Taiwan for 2 years.  He loved it there.  And even though Claire, Eden and I have never set foot upon any Chinese province, we love learning about the Chinese culture, and eating Chinese food.  What's not to celebrate, right?


Last year, I learned that my friend Daphney had lived in China -- Hong Kong to be precise. So, we invited her family to celebrate with us. It was so much fun.


This year, Daphney found even more friends who have either lived in China, or work in China. You know what happened don't you . . . our little party turned into a really big celebration, and it was awesome. It was so large in fact, that we moved the party to the Baughs.


We ate tons of delicious food. The hits this year were Orange Chicken (Obviously.  Who doesn't like orange chicken) . . .


Chinese BBQ chicken wings . . . 





... and some kind of little yogurt drink that tasted like key lime pie.  This little guy liked them so much, he drank shots all night long. We finally had to cut him off.



The coolest part of the party was meeting my neighbor around the corner, Cami -- who is Chinese. She explained the traditions of Chinese New Year to all of the novices -- which was pretty much everyone at the party, except Cami. There is so much symbolism in everything that is done to celebrate the lunar New Year. Even the food that is served has meaning.   I think we pretty much botched all that up, but that's ok, we are novices, remember.



My favorite tradition is handing out red envelopes that contain money.  The amount given is significant -- 8's are good, but I don't know why (I must not have been listening.)   At a true Chinese New Year celebration, each person gives a red envelop to all the younger people in attendance -- which means that next year, I will be handing out money to everyone, and getting nothing in return.  That is a bummer -- one more thing to hate about getting old.  But, I am relived to know that once you are married, the only people who give you a red envelope are your parents. That should save me a few dollars.

In case you are wondering. I was born in the Year of the Pig, which means I love to read, and that when I make friends, I keep them for life. If you know me, that is pretty much true. On the other hand, Pigs are also known for not having much to say unless you ask them . . . which is not me at all.   I have problems keeping quiet.  I do, and it's something I really need to work on.

I'm not sure if I'm glad that my sign is a Pig, but I am glad that I wasn't born during the year of the Tiger -- that is unlucky. I need all the luck I can get -- especially if I have to give away a bunch of red envelopes.


Thanks for hosting Baughs.  It was a fun celebration.

By the way, if you've ever lived in China, or worked in China, you are cordially invited to celebrate with us next year.

3 comments:

Jenni said...

how cool is that idea! i love that you celebrate this holiday and that it is growing with others!

we watch A LOT of noggin, actually i think it is nick jr. now, here at the roseland house and there is a show called, "ni hao, kai-lan" and we learn our share of the chinese culture from that cartoon!

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

Year of the rabbit this year, isn't it? I don't know which year I was born in. I'll have to check. Your party looks like so much fun!

My kids learned how to say "snow" in Chinese, thanks to that Kai-Lan (?) show on TV, and it sounds like they're swearing. It makes me laugh.

Julie said...

Thanks for inviting us!! That was a great party! We were thinking that we should've made our own fortune cookies. Wouldn't that be really fun to come up with a bunch of fortunes?? Next year...
:)