It’s Chinese New Year time, and that means honoring our elders, receiving good luck money, eating our faces off, and maybe losing all our good luck money to our grandma in mah jong. She shows no mercy. Here are eight hard-earned Mash-Up tips for having a great start to the year. Happy everything!
Isadora Tang, Chinese-Taiwanese-American
“When I was a kid I would always spend my Chinese New Year money immediately (you know, on lip glosses, hot fashions from limited too, Nirvana and Beatles CDs, etc.) whereas my brother always saved his and just got my parents to buy him whatever he wanted. He’s probably since turned that money around by a factor of something stupid high and I have nothing to show for mine. To this day I still think about that and how it reflects our very different financial philosophies, but I REGRET NOTHING! Spend your money. Don’t you think it’s kind of weird that CNY is a time when parents subliminally teach their kids about money? How very Chinese.”
Jordan Ho, Chinese-American
“Gather as many of your friends as you can for Hot Pot! If you gather too many, go to a restaurant instead of doing it at home. Otherwise you’ll be chopping meat and veggies for days!”
Alex Mackenzie, Chinese-Scottish-American
“It’s my zodiac year, and that’s not a good thing. Ben ming nian (your zodiac year, or the year you were born) is bad luck because you’re basically pissing off some Chinese god for who knows what reason. I’ve spent the past three or so months being reminded of this by my mom, who’s now worried over everything. It’s also her ben ming nian. The only antidote is to wear red clothes or jewelry or jade every day. Heads up, yo.”
Dungjai Pungauthaikan, Thai-Chinese-American
“Eat crab guts and drink brandy. A tradition I picked up from my Taiwanese in-laws!”
Peter Lee, Chinese-Taiwanese-American
“My best advice for Chinese New Year is to never play mah jong with my grandmother. She’ll take all your money, and won’t feel guilty for a sec.”
Sarah Charukesnant, Thai-Chinese-American
“Remember to honor those who came before you. I love the prayers.”
… and two pieces of wisdom gleaned from the years, for good luck:
Even when you think you can’t eat any more, you can always eat more.
Firecrackers should never, ever be used indoors.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!