The fireworks began again at midnight. Loud stattaco sounds like gunshots woke me up, and eventually I got up to enjoy technicolour patterns enlivening the night sky. When they eventually subsided, I went back to sleep, only to be woken in the morning by more fireworks, loud, consistent, everywhere.
Since the midnight spectacle was almost as great as New Year’s itself, I decided I had better ask.
“Why were all the fireworks going off last night, and this morning?” I asked my (ex) sister-in-law. ( Can in-laws be classified as “ex” ??)
“Its Chu Wu,” she said, almost disdainfully, the fifth day of the New Year, and keep preparing the jiaozi . Only later was I to find out that in the north, jiaozi should be eaten for breakfast on the fifth day.
I had to ask, further displaying my ignorance.
“Chu Wu,” I asked, “What does that mean?”
Another disdainful mumbled answer. “Chu Wu – Cai Shen”
So I got it wrong. Chu San – the third day of the Lunar New Year – is not the birthday of the God of Wealth at all, its Chu Wu. Always ask a local.
“Do you always light fireworks up in your hometown in the north?”
“We haven’t bought any fireworks at all this year.” Meaning, us, here, me…..
Actually, I only remember one year when my daughter was young that we bought sparklers…….
“Do you want to buy fireworks?”
“Sui bian” – whatever is convenient.
“Where do you buy fireworks anyhow?”
“At the vegetable market, of course.”
Of course. Silly me. Just go down to the grocers and buy some potatoes, broccoli, and fireworks.
When the time came to go, Phoenix Orchid, the ex-sister-in-law said, “not much use buying fireworks now, really…. Let’s buy some haochi de dongxi instead. That’s the Chinese for you – ever practical.
好吃的东西 – hao chi de dong xi – yummy food, or literally, good eating things.
Instead of the local fruit and vegetable market, we went to the supermarket and bought Australian tiger prawns.
The kind you can’t buy in Australia any more, – even though my home in Australia is right near a seafood market, where the prawns and crabs and fish are fresh from the trawlers. The quality seafood is all exported .
Crazy world: I can buy delicious, pollution free prawns from the Australian seas in China, and in Australia, the supermarkets are stocked with Vietnamese fish, filled with mercury.
I’m sure the Wealth God won’t mind me not letting off any fireworks – with these Australian prawns, life was abundant enough.
Home in the evening, the fireworks are still going off. I guess there’s a lot of people here who could do with the Wealth God paying them a visit.