Thursday, January 30, 2014

Year Of The Horse

 ^ So I was driving home from a math session today, and as usual, I saw this.

Yup. A Vietnamese temple of some sort. Ain't nothing weird about seeing Asian worship sites out here on the Pacific Rim.

But unlike the many other times I've passed this site during the last few months, something new has been going on 'round here.

^ Yup. It's celebration time! 

Call it whatever you like:

Lunar New Year
Chinese New Year
Vietnamese New Year
or Tết.

Despite the different names, the meaning is essentially the same. On January 31, most of Southeast Asia, including transplanted Asians around the world, will begin celebrating a new year, as marked by the traditional and time-honored lunar calendar.

Holiday customs vary from country to country, and even from people to people within the same country. But it all boils down to family reunions, neighborly visits, paying respects, giving money to little children, and eating heaps of lovely food.

Yup. I can certainly get behind a holiday like that.

The peek-a-boo colored lanterns strung along the roadway tempted me to stop at the temple. Pulling into the drive, I noticed the politely locked gate. Darn it. Visiting hours were over for the day, but I snapped away to my heart's content.

^ Nothing could hold back the explosion of color and joy that burst forth. By some creative shooting around and through the gate and fences, I felt like I was at the epicenter of the celebration. I especially loved the strings of lanterns that wound through the trees and deep into the Pacific Northwest forest.

^ Even the temple gates that prevented me from walking under the lanterns and around the property were festive and joyful in their own right. 

^ Same goes for these brilliant spring primrose planted out. Their brilliant colors and bold shapes echoed the hanging lanterns and brought the celebration right out to the tips of my toes. 

* * * * *

Even though I'm not exactly in the prime demographic for this cultural happening, I will definitely be celebrating. Thankfully, this holiday is one that stretches out to a span of several days, so I've got some time to work this gala into my life and onto my dinner table.

Happy Year Of The Horse!

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