Year of the Dragon

Part of my decision making process for where to go involves being in places where I can see festivals and holidays.  Chinese New Years is a lunar calendar based holiday that occurs every year in January or February.  There are all sorts of traditions and festivities that are supposed to go on for 15 days.  My family celebrates in America on one night with what I call a Noah’s ark of meals.  The table is laden with just about every type of meat you can imagine in a feast that could last for days.  I decided pretty early on in my trip that I would swing by Asia early (as it would not be warm enough otherwise) so that I could finally see how things are celebrated.

Hot pot feast time.

I decided to go to Shanghai to visit my college roommate who used to come home with me to celebrate with my family.  Now I get to visit her and see the awesome hot pot festivities she set up in her house.  It certainly is a different holiday when it involves a room full of young people boisterously eating out of a communal pot and watching an awful state run tv gala.  The real highlight of the night had to be the fireworks that would be rather illegal back home.

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

The firework vendors were telling us how high fireworks were going in tens of meters.  Most American fireworks, even where legal, can barely hit three meters (ten ft).  We started off with some ground fireworks that made loud popping noises.  Next we hit the fireworks that went high enough to 30-40 meters up in the air.

We watched some fireworks explode off the window we were watching out of. So much for fire safety.

Last we ran around with some sparklers, to have some slightly safer firework fun.  Then, our firework load spent, we retired upstairs to watch the rest of the city go nuts.  I wish we had more.  I think you always wish you had more fireworks.  At least we could still enjoy everyone else’s.  You could see multiple firework displays in every direction.  I’m not sure how much money and time these people were spending on fireworks.  It went on for hours!  I’m pretty sure these random guys on street corners could put many small American town fourth of July shows to shame.

I am told the fireworks would go on all week, but they mostly happened on two days so far.  New year’s eve (which was Sunday) had hours of fireworks.  A few nights ago, there was another prolonged burst of fireworks to celebrate the day of wealth and the day when stores would open back up again.  I wish more American holidays involved multiple day firework fun that was less concerned with safety.

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