Monday, February 15, 2010

Chinese New Year On The Street Where We Live

Today Americans are celebrating Presidents' Day but here in our Belgian neighborhood it is Chinese New Year! We live in the heart of Chinatown surrounded by Asian markets and restaurants. A handy take out option when we need a quick, tasty dinner. More on that later...

Anyway, today was a downer...

1) There was a terrible train crash killing 20+ near Brussels during morning rush hour. Kirk rode the train to work so it was just too close not to be shaken.

2) More snow drizzles down. We have had it daily for weeks now. Where are you sun?!?

3) We attempted to see Bouillon Castle with Karen and Brady near Luxembourg. I drove us 90 snowy miles but when we got off the exit the ramp was matted with snow and ice. I started down the road but it had not be plowed and had enormous, long hills up and down as far as I could see. I looked at Karen and bailed, saying I just couldn't do it. Something inside just told me to instinctively call the whole thing off rather than risk getting stuck or sliding off the road with two little ones in the car. Better safe than sorry. But it still felt terrible to turn around after driving so far and a mere 15 minutes from the castle. Instead we returned to the highway and found a Pizza Hut rest area with an indoor playground for the kids to eat and play. They didn't seem to mind and it was nice to have a friend you can turn around on and still make lemonade.

We returned home exhausted from the 'Bouillon Bail Out.' I parked the car and we heard drums everywhere and this is what we saw...
There were costumed lions dancing outside all the Chinese businesses for the New Year celebration. Connor was intrigued by the drums so we hustled over to see the action. There was doorstep dancing and lettuce all over the ground. I was perplexed, but here is the explanation I found online for the "Lion Dance":

The lion dance has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is performed on auspicious occasions such as weddings, store openings, and various festivals and celebrations. The lion, a symbol of power, wisdom, and good fortune, chases away evil spirits and brings happiness, longevity, and good luck. The lion dance is also performed at many business locations during the Chinese New Year's Celebration for the lion brings prosperity and good luck to the business for the upcoming year.

During the Chinese New Year, it is a tradition for the lion to go from business to business to perform. The business owners "feed" the lion with oranges, a head of lettuce or bok choy which includes a red envelope filled with money. This brings prosperity to the business for the upcoming year.

Connor quickly decided she did NOT like the Lions or the drums up close.
I scooped her up along with all our stuff from our road trip and tried to get around the lions to head for our apartment. But wouldn't you know their next stop was right outside our apartment door. So it was hard to get away.
You can sense from the photo below how close they were to our apartment doorstep.
Wouldn't you know as soon as we got in our door Connor was instantly more interested with the glass barrier dividing her from the lions.
It was an overdue naptime, but I can assure you with this going on directly below our apartment there was no sleeping.

So my little Valentine pulled out her My Little Pony and hid out in her pink plastic bin.

I did make eggrolls with dinner in celebration. Happy Chinese New Year. Now let's see YOUR Lion Dance!!!

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