I love decorations and I love the colour red.
Every Chinese New Year, I used to put up all the red banners and stuff
on the walls, the trees and wherever I could think of. The whole living room will be full of red 'ting-tong-tiang' decorations ranging from red pineapples, red fake fire-crackers and colourful goodluck couplets, as well as chrysanthemum flowers, pussy willows, bamboos, lime trees, and mandarin oranges.
I'd have them for the festive mood, and after all it's only once a year. The stuff will be kept and recycled the following year. As a result, I have three bags of those stuff in my Taiping house.
I did the decorations because I enjoyed it. And after learning about fengshui through Lilian Too's books, I'd automatically adjust things based on the latest readings. That's my duty every year, other than basic cleaning and cooking for the family dinner. I've already backed off from the prayer stuff and giving homage to the ancestors years ago; that's my ex-husband's job.
However, my first Chinese New Year as a Muslim, after I was banned from going home, was a quiet one at the university. I kept myself entertained by surfing the internet. And I survived the season, alhamdulillah..
And now, I'd be having my second Chinese New Year as a Muslim.
And now, I've a place to call my own.
And I'm so tempted to continue the decorating tradition, hehehee.
My darling husband, sensing my mood, has already issued a warning.
"No funny symbolism things, ok. Be careful."
So to play safe, I'm sticking to flowers. Just some fake plum blossoms will do this year. Perhaps if I'm lucky, I can get some real flowers at the market tomorrow. Will be cooking some Chinese dishes to mark the festival.
Well, I'll be breaking traditions again. It's not easy to undo what 36 years of age-old traditional beliefs that have been drummed into your head. I've decided not to wear any new clothes on the first day of Chinese New Year, so that I won't continue to believe in luck based on new clothes (new undergarments don't count, hahahaa). I'll wash my hair on the first day if I have to, and not believe that washing hair will wash away all my goodluck for the coming year. I'll sweep the floor in the morning as usual, because I want to remind myself that Allah gives us all the 'rezeki' and that sweeping the floor has nothing to do with 'rezeki' from Him. I'm avoiding from seeking out Chinese astrological predictions for 2008, so that I won't be influenced by the readings. Not easy man, but I'm disciplining myself.
InsyaAllah I'll be having a halal steamboat dinner with my family and in-laws. Am praying hard that the dinner will be successful and give positive results. The table's been booked, the hamper is ready, and the ang-pows are packed. All I have to do now is worry what to wear for the dinner ( minus the baju kurung and loose flowing jubah - mum will nag that I've become a Malay; minus the nyonya kebaya, body-hugging tops, hips-hugging skirts, jeans and short-sleeved blouses - those have been confined to husband's eyes only, hehehe)... not much choice left la.
Well, Happy Lunar New Year everyone. Enjoy the holidays.