Yes, happy New Year all over again. It is now Chinese New Year, which is the biggest holiday for Taiwan and almost all other East Asain countries (except for Japan they don't celebrate it). We are really excited because we have a full week off of work! We are planning on going down south where there is white sand beaches and great surf. So when we get back we will post hopefully beautiful pictures that will make everyone that is dealing with white snow besides white beaches very jealous.
This past weekend it was both Allies and my Birthdays and a hash run inbetween, so there is a lot to talk about. After my birthday party of just Allie and I we had a hash run to look forward to. This run was pretty close to where we live (about 15 minute drive). It started at another fellow hashers house which is ontop of a mountian right out of the city. The run was a nice short run. We didn't have to bush wack through jungles or climb mountains by using ropes so it was what most people think of running. It was about 4.5 miles so Allie and I ran it twice. The run did have some great views of the city with the bigger mountains behind it and also you could see the coast. After the run the hash had a cookout and a little fire which Allie and I stayed longer than normal and sat around the fire with a few other hashers and got to know each other better. It was really nice, reminded me of hanging out with our friends and family just relaxing and talking. Allie finished first out of the girls so next hash she has to wear the beaver bottoms and I think they came up with a name for her so the next hash we might have some really good looking pictures of Allie:)
Sunday was Allies birthday so we slept in. Then went to a great Indian resturant for a birthday lunch. We went to the Jade market which has some really cool Chinese jewlers and antiques. The weather was really rainy so we went to the mall to see if there was any good movies playing (most of them are the same as back home they just come out maybe a week later here) but there was nothing we wanted to see. We ended up just laying around the house and taking it easy. The weather has been rainny and cold here in Taichung for about a week now.
Here is a quick history on Chinese New Year. February 6th is the eve (this year since it is a lunar calandar and depends on the moon). It lasts not just for a day or two but more like 5 to 6. It was first started during the Xia Dynasty which was between 2100B.C to 1600B.C. There first was different months and times when different types of Chinese people celebrated this holiday (some celebrated in the first month of the year, while others celebrated it during the tenth month). In 104B.C. Emperor Wu established the first month as the start of the new year. The tradition goes as followed: There is a human eating monster called Nian 年 that comes from the mountains, in other versions of the tale it comes form the sea( I think it just matters what you are closer to). The monster does not like loud noises and that is why people shot of fireworks all night long! Nian also does not like the color red, so people hang red signs up on the door, they used to put blood over their doors just like how the Israelites put blood over their door so the Tenth Plague or Angle of Death would "skip" over or "passover" and not kill their firstborn (check out the book of Exodus if you want more info of the Jewish holiday passover). The Chinese spends this holiday with their families. It is a time that large meals are prepared and people catch up with their family. They pass out gifts (mostly food) and also red envelopes are given to children which the envelopes are filled with money. Their was your short history leason for the day. Have a happy New Year and watch out for Nian!