When we were younger, my Mama would host Chinese New Year parties with gifts for the guests born in the new year. In 1991, it was my turn - the year of the ram/goat. In a long skinny box was an intricate sandalwood fan for me, and then when a guest didn't arrive a copy of Ming Shu: The Art and Practice of Chinese Astrology. I spent hours pouring over that book working out the whole family's dates and balance of wood, fire, earth, metal and water - drawing up elaborate Heaven and Earth plates.I saw my life, our lives, written there, our fortunes and futures in blue ink on the page. I don't recognise much of my pre-teen scrawly words and numbers anymore, so I'm not sure how much has actually come to pass. But I'm keen to sit down and do one for Dear Boy - to imagine, more than anything really, what the future holds for him, my little Rabbit.
At midnight last night, we heard the faraway pops and thuds and bangs of fireworks, people in the city celebrating and ringing in the Chinese Lunar New Year. We're going to take Dear Boy in the city tomorrow if it's not too hot, to watch the dancing dragons and lions, to see the decorations, to listen to the music and be surrounded by festival glee.
To celebrate today, I've made us lucky goldfish for running through the backyard and fluttering through the still air. Goldfish are considered lucky, or a symbol of wealth and propsperity, in Chinese culture because the word for fish and abundance have similar pronunciation.
These little fish are super easy to make. All you need are:
- a toilet roll or carboard tube
- orange/gold tissue paper
- googly eyes (although easy to draw on)
- Glue stick
- String or a long pipecleaner and tape for a handle
Simply cut some long thin strips of tissue paper for the tail, a few pieces for fins, and a rectangle a few centimetres longer than the carboard tube. Glue on the end of the rectangle and wrap it around the tube, tucking in the ends. Glue on tails strips, fins and googly eyes. Then use a piece of tape or two to secure the string or pipecleaner inside.
Happy Lunar New Year!