Today is the Latten Festival – the festival for the family to get together and have Tangyuan together. Our office closes at 5:30 PM, so people has the extra 30 minutes to get back home to have a great dinner with their family.
Today is also the last chance, maybe, to fire some fireworks. I have kept our fireworks, and crackers to today, and we sent the beautiful fireworks to the sky to celebrate the finally end of the Spring Festival, and the arrival of the year of Ox.
The most amazing thing in China for many of my foreign friends is the experience of Chinese New Year. The fireworks of thousands of households in the new year eve is not weaker than a small scale war – imagine most of the families in the high-density residential area all go out and fire something big.
In Shanghai, the order of the fireworks is interesting. Although there is no strict rules about when you should fire some, here are the general rules.
There are three major events (all according to lunar calendar):
1. New Year Eve, that is on the last day of the last year. This is the tradition of fireworks across China. In most places, this is the time when most fireworks appear.
2. Welcoming the God of Fortune, which is the mid-night before the 5th day of the new year. This is pretty special in southern China, especially in Shanghai. The fireworks of that night is even much bigger than the New Year Eve. This seems strange to me and many other people in China, but this is the tradition in Shanghai. It seems there is only one God of Fortune, and he will only arrives to those who makes the biggest noise. At that night, the sound of fireworks started from 8:00 PM and never stops until passing mid-night.
3. Latten Festival, which is the 15th day of the New Year. This is typically the significant mark of end of the Spring Festival. Most people come back from their home town. For me, I observed significant increase in traffic this morning. I would assume more than 30% of cars on the road.
Yifan is only 20 months old, and he is obviously very afraid of the huge sound of the fireworks. At the very beginning, whenever there are some large sounds, he cries, and jumps into Wendy’s arm. At the New Year Eve, the little poor boy cried for several hours. It IS horrible to see the whole sky is lit up by fire, and the sounds are so loud that Yifan could not even hear what his mom says to him. After few days, he started to get used to the "terrible" sound, and even dare to look up from Wendy’s shoulder, and carefully examine what happened. He is much more calm than the starting of this Spring Festival. Yifan grows up with the arrival of the new year.