It happens every year on New Years Day. My parents come over, sometimes bringing other members of family, and the minute they step inside the apartment a flurry of activity takes over. Shoes and coats are off, grocery bags are plopped down on the kitchen counter and pots of water get put on the stove to boil. This year my mom called me from the car to tell me to put the water on so that it would be in a boiling state when they got there. That’s planning! That’s wasting no time!
The threat of snowy icy weather made this year’s visit questionable and so when the weather looked clear in the morning, I breathed a sigh of relief from nearly missing the traditional rice cake soup that is supposed to bring good fortune for the new year. ‘Cause you know that if something bad were to ever happen this year the superstitious Asian in me would immediately think back to New Years Day when we didn’t have that soup. Now, however, I can blame it on something else.
This year my parents also brought over traditional clothing for the formal New Years bow to your elders ceremony, except we only had 1 dress from when the girls both dressed up for their 1 year banquet birthdays (it actually only fits Claudine now). Alright, if having 2 girls close in age ever taught me anything, it’s the fact that you can’t just bring 1 thing that both the girls might want. We learned this lesson when we were at a mall last Christmas and bought Mia fairy wings and figured that they’d both share it, but this ended up with Claudine in tears and a trip back to the store. Now there’s a big fat freaking “what the hell were you thinking only buying 1 child fairy wings while coming empty handed for the other?!?”.
As soon as my parents swarmed around Claudine and got her all dressed, Miss C marched to our room like a woman on a mission to admire herself in the mirror. Mia wasn’t too pleased that there was no fancy Korean dress up clothes for her which is why she’s missing in so many of these photos, but this ain’t nothing that a little Good Fortune money can’t fix. I joke, but when we were kids and my cousins and I were subjected to bowing down before all our elders – and I say subjected because it often turned into a laughfest for the adults to see how the kids butchered the bow which has to be performed a certain way depending on whether you were a girl or boy – we’d count our money to see how we made out. Sounds crude about the money, but we totally earned it. Btw, the girls did not have to bow down to us or my parents which was a bit odd to me as I thought they would start the tradition this year, but apparently my parents just wanted the photo op (tsk tsk, I’m on to you mom and dad).
We also made a reference to the other side of the family by playing Mark’s grandmother’s ukulele while the girls performed the hula. No, Mark is not Hawaiian, but his mom was raised there, so close enough. Besides, I think all of us wish we were Hawaiian, especially Mia.
And just as they came in, my family left in a blur of coats, bags and activity and that is how we spent our New Years. What about you? Any New Years traditions that you MUST do, lest you be afraid of being struck by lightning and bad fortune?