February 15, 2013

Happy Year of the Snake

I Get Knocked Down...And I Get Up Again
 In Japan, this guy is called Darumasan. He's shaped like a weeble, in that he wobbles, but he don't fall down. The Darumasan toy that the Japanese have is a little smaller than this one, which was about four feet high, but like its American counterpart, he falls down and doesn't get back up.

Actually, when we say "eenie, meenie, miney, moe" the Japanese say, "Darumasan ga korounda" which means, Mr Daruma falls down, but he gets back up. There's a lesson in perseverance to be had.

This particular Darumasan was waiting in the downstairs lobby of the American Institute in Taiwan's Kaohshiung branch office where we went a few weeks back to get my daughter's passport sorted out. I asked the guard what this guy was called in Chinese, and he wasn't too sure. He guessed that it was DaMo.  I'm not too sure.

Gods Visiting a Local Shrine for the Holiday.
At the Lunar New Year, it's time for the gods to go back to heaven to have a big dinner party. I asked my relatives if it was kind of like the year-end Wei-ya that our company has before the holiday, and I assume that I wasn't too far off-base which is close enough for me. So the gods have been working hard all year granting wishes to all the folks who want their businesses to grow and whatnot; hard work, need a break, as do we. Their year-end party is a mother of a blow out, that lasts for ... well, what is time to the gods? It goes on for a while by our standards. All around the world, people send snacks to heaven via the incense network.  Below is a collection of dishes for the potluck of the patriarchs ( a term I choose for its alliterative quality, not because I have any idea what I'm talking about.)
It doesn't matter what the dishes are, but the gods have to have 12 of them. 

Food is all well and good, but we like to have a little walking around money, and so do the gods. God money comes in all denominations, and is often budgeted strictly for clothes or certain kinds of food.
This is called Shou-shen. It's money used to grease the wheels in heaven and attract blessings. 
This is for kids. When kids have a problem, this is what the gods are given to bless the young-uns. 
Money to burn.
Da Jia Gong Xi
The statuary gets red envelopes, too. 
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1 comment:

Language Learning said...

Actually I was wondering if the year of the snake has the same meaning in Twaian as in Mainland China. I am speaking about the "horoscope". In China, every year a lot of stuff gets written about the new year and thousands of stories about the respective animals are to be found online. Do you share the same ideas about the zodiacs as people from the Mainland? Do you have the same names for the animals as the Chinese people in Mandarin Chinese? Would love to hear more about this as I do also have a language blog about the Chinese language and the zodiacs.