Nieuws - 14 februari 2013

Crossover New Year

Last Sunday, instead of celebrating the Chinese New Year, I went to Den Bosch for the Carnival parade. In the crowds I encountered some Dutch who wished me 'Happy New Year'. And I was asked about how Chinese celebrate the New Year. Thanks to my three years' life in Holland, I managed to explain it within five minutes.

Happy New Year of the Snake
Just as the Dutch put up a kerstboom during the Christmas holiday, Chinese also have a symbolic tree for the New Year. It's called kum-quat, which rhymes for 'gold' and 'luck'. What does it look like? Just imagine all the decorations on a kerstboom are replaced by many small oval orange fruits. Interestingly, I noticed my Dutch friends didn't throw away their kerstboom right after Christmas but kept it until January 6, the Three Kings' Day. So do Chinese to the kum-quat, which stands for 15 days until Chinese Valentine's Day.
Trust me, fortune cookie is not typical Chinese, it is made-in-USA with a Japanese prototype. Instead, jin-deui, a sort of deep-fried pastry, is the authentic snack for the Chinese New Year. Because of its golden color and ball shape, it symbolizes the on-rolling gold-flow, a Chinese saying goes, 'stacks of jin-deui bring in stacks of gold and silver.' It looks like the Dutch oliebollen with sesame coating. And if you ran into this news article, you might agree that the saying above better suits the oliebollen.
Dutch and Chinese share the same enthusiasm in fireworks. But to play with them in China, will take some effort: we don't sell fireworks in bike shops like the Dutch do in Holland; you have to get it from  licensed points and detonate them in the rural areas. To save time, just watch the pyrotechnics arranged by the local governments.

Ironically, last time I felt homesick was due to the fireworks. On the New Year's Eve, the made-in-China fireworks not only illuminated the sky in Wageningen but also crossoverly reminded me of the nostalgic smell of the Chinese New Year.
Last, a tip for any Dutch who want to experience the Chinese New Year economically next year: hang some orange ping-pongs on your kerstboom, dress your oliebollen with sesame coating, and enjoy the firework. That way you celebrate a Dutch and Chinese  crossover New Year.
Vid of the Week: Watching firework from Dijkgraaf on the New Year's Eve