Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Routine and Chinese Culture

Last Monday, January 14th, was a great day, having a day off from work to catch up on errands, being with Hubby, seeing AA at school.
After school, AA and I shopped at Michael's and Walmart for Valentine craft supplies, then to the library to read three "Amelia Bedelia" books. AA read three books, one at the Level 1 and two at the Level 4. This Amelia is pretty silly in the books we read. Anyone have an opinion on them?

After the library, it was time to order her take out Pizza Hut Pan Pepperoni Pizza (free for reaching her reading goals), off to Spring Park for a few quick slides then back to pick up the pizza and head home. We make the most of our time together and sometimes go out for dinner to have more Mommy-Daughter bonding :)
This Monday, Hubby volunteered to make dinner so we enjoyed our evening chatting about our day's activities.

Back to the morning which was relaxing with Hubby while AA was in school. We dropped the car off for some minor work, then off to our local Asian market to see what they have for Chinese New Year.
Banking chores, lunch at our favorite Moon River Pizza (their salads are VERY fresh, every time), then back to pick up the car.

Our list for Chinese New Year is extensive as we will make up 19 gift bags that contain a craft, the Zodiac, fortune cookies, chop sticks, different cookies and candies and the red envelop with chocolate coin and a little real money. We are reading the book Lanterns and Firecrackers: A Chinese New Year Story to AA's kindergarten class, sharing the reason why the New Year is celebrated, the different elements of it and the sharing of family time. This is what Hubby did last year for AA's class - The Year of the Rabbit.
I found some unusual papers at the Asian market and picked up two of the packages thinking that maybe they had something to do with the Chinese New Year. The packages mainly held different papers, gold, silver, red, etc and candles, incense and fake money bills.
Here's the photos of the contents:

After some research on the Internet (good ole' Google!), I found out about the traditions of burning these "Joss" papers at funerals and for respect for the dead: Also known as ghost money, Joss paper are sheets of paper that are burned in traditional Chinese deity or ancestor worship ceremonies during special holidays. Joss paper is also burned in traditional Chinese funerals. Usually made of white paper cut into the shape of a copper coin, joss paper is scattered around the grave or burned as an offering to the dead. The custom is called "paper scattering" or "paper burning" etc. It is still popular today. 
I put the question out on facebook and had this from Susan Reitano Rizzo: Our Chinese exchange student said that it is a mix of things used for different holidays and ceremonies. The Incense can be used Chinese New Year as well as the red envelopes. Can also be used for tomb sweeping day. The paper money is used to burn at a persons grave or for God (her words). The white envelope she said is something they give to old people on birthdays LOL. She wasn't sure what the purple thing was. She said if it was open she might know what it was.
Also from Facebook: Thanks to Rynee Clarke for her message and for asking your friend Jin Kim: They are New Year's decorations: Square white paper with red stamp - pray for new year's health and their long life, you stick them on your front door. Mostly they decorate their entry door with all kinds of red and gold papers for good luck, money and health for new year. Red one with gold letters behind of white and red square looks like money paper, wrap money in it for your childrens' first bow down to parents and grand parents in new year morning, they hand it over to their children for good luck, red cut-out papers (in other pic)--you put them on your windows. Red blocks bad luck and bring good luck thru the wholes and you can also enjoy shadows from them.
More relating to these papers and incense:
Ancestor worshiping is not asking for favours, but to fulfill one’s filial duties. The act is a way to respect, honour and look after ancestors in their afterlives, guaranteeing the ancestors’ well- being and positive disposition towards the living, as well as the living descendants possibly seek the ancestors’ guidance or assistance. The social or non-religious function of ancestor worship is to cultivate kinship values like filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage.

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