Wednesday, February 1, 2012

初十

CNY facts #10: so you do pretty much the same thing from day ten to day twelve of the chinese new year and that is: EAT!
these 3 days of the new year are reserved for more eating. celebrations are characterized by a sumptous dinner with family and friends.
there is also a belief that the tenth day of the chinese new year is the day of 女娲补天 or Nüwa Patched the Sky (Nüwa is a goddess in Chinese mythology best known for creating mankind and repairing the wall of heaven).  legend has it that on the tenth day of the chinese new year, a small hole appeared in the sky and the rain fell non-stop. to save the people from drowning, Nüwa patched up the hole in the sky.
the tenth day of the chinese new year is also believed to be the birthday of the god of stone. on this day, it is forbidden to move any stone. therefore, this day is also known as “Shi Bu Dong (石不动),” which simply means not moving any stone. in addition to that, it is also forbidden to build a house with rocks or bad things will happen to the crops. on this day, incense and candles are burned for the stones, and pancakes are offered to the god of stone. (haha chinese people sound so crazy and superstitious)
in ancient times, the tenth day of the Chinese New Year is the day to celebrate the marriage of the mouse. according to the legends in the regions south of the Yangtze River, the mouse is a harmful and unlucky animal, so people have to get the mouse married off to ensure a peaceful and lucky new year. on this day, families should not open any boxes or cabinets, and should go to bed early so as not to disturb the mice. children will put some candies and peanuts in the corners of the house as the dowry for the mouse. new year pictures and paper-cutting about the marriage of mice are popular among folk people in China.

okay, enough of the different traditions and sayings for the day.
i also want to introduce mahjong to you today. mahjong is a game that is commonly played during the chinese new year. last chinese new year my cousins and i played 4 days straight. this year, i got to play for a little bit on saturday night. love mahjong!
there are four players and it is played with a set of 136 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. each player begins with 13 tiles. players take turns to draw and discard tiles until they complete four groups of 3 and a pair using the fourteenth drawn tile. a tile can be drawn or taken when another player discards it. there are many ways to win and certain combinations that will bring in more money.
its hard to explain it but if you get the chance, you should learn how to play mahjong. but, it can be very addictive so be careful.
the tiles look like this. there's the bamboo set, the circles set, and the 万 set. there's also the chinese character ones and the flowers and animals. its very confusing hahaha.
first day of chinese new year last year: mini mahjong set. its super hard to play with the mini set so i would advise against getting a small set hahaha
shuffling the tiles
the tiles are arranged like that and this is me slowly examining my tiles hahaha
this was taken at the (english) new year's eve party we had at my house. we played for a couple of hours while waiting for midnight to hit and when my mother yelled for us to go over to start the countdown "10, 9, 8..., " we were so engrossed in our game that none of us moved. addictive. yes. 

today, i got an email reply from sister song again. omg isn't this week just the best ever.
plus, i just realized that its already february and that new york is in the really near future now! omg!
and, i met a cute boy today :)
end of story.

xoxo,
char

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