Another Passover

Roars of festive passing
In waves unlistenable
Billow unceasingly.
Though shoved from pillar to post,
The rootless and fruitless
Have long pledged their fealty
To the years and years before;
And thus with stale gaiety,
And by the pale mores of yore,
They light another firecracker
For another year no more.

 

Colin Lee

colin-lee-small

Chinese New Year is, without fail, anything but restful and, for various reasons, has prevailed as my least favoured festivity. Since back at work in the factory, I have been greeted by our neighbours’ firecrackers every morning. As always, the din is hardly pleasing to the ears; well, it’s never meant to be.

According to folklore, “年” (Nian), the Chinese word for “year”, was the name of an ominous spirit (as shown in the image above) which roamed the land during New Year’s Eve and preyed upon children. Therefore, a ruckus of firecrackers and percussion clangours is made to drive the spirit away. To ward it off one’s threshold, blood red papers, called fai chun, are glued around the doorframe, usually inscribed with blessings in the form of an antithetical couplet (click for more). With the exclusive verb of choice in our observance being none other than “過” (guo, as to “pass over”), the festivity’s uncanny similarity to Pesach, the Jewish Passover, is quite plain to see. Like its Jewish doppelgänger, CNY is preceded by a week of thorough housecleaning; the feast on the Eve features a whole game or fowl; a vigil is held past midnight; and, coincidentally, the traditional CNY dishes are all unleavened as well: turnip cake (kugel?), fried niangao (matzah brei?), dumplings and tangyuan (matzo balls?), just to name a few. If the ancient Chinese turns out to be somewhat connected with the lost tribes of Israel, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at all.

Anyway, enough dawdling. Time to get back to work. (Sorry about the backlog of comments/reciprocations meanwhile.)

Photo Courtesy: Haosou
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4 thoughts on “Another Passover

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  1. Xian nian Kuai Ler!!! I love the connections you allude to between the two cultures. we all have but one origin, this proves a point too. hope your new year was joyful, lots of family time and being part of an ancient tradition. lots of firecrackers here too, last night especially, Hokkien New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all have but one origin — amen to that! Thank Goodness I’ve managed to survive the hectic season, both at home and at work. Slightly less stressful than expected. Phew. Happy belated New Year to you again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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