003The Chinese around the world leave political, economic and athletic pursuits once a year and unite around a common celebration.  It is the Lunar New Year 4711.    No one forgets to put this on their calendar.

Early in my life we would have family gatherings where food was bountiful.  Red envelopes for good luck were passed on to those who are single.  In fact red is common during this celebration.

Red is the color of good fortune in the Chinese culture.  People wear red, food is decorated in red and firecrackers are commonly in red.  The lion and dragon costumes sport a lot of red as their dominant theme.

This is my first year for the Chinese New Year celebration in Houston.  We drove down to the Chinese Community Center.001  Thousands of people gathered for the festivities.

Dance troupes displayed choreographed routines.  Each group had blazing colors on their outfits suitable for a happy time.  Their movements were unique, distinct yet I noticed that so many martial arts movements were subtle as well as overt.

When we walked into the auditorium, many of the seats were already “saved” by a single relative or friend.  On an average they were protecting about 12 seats each.  On at least two occasions we were shooed away by a grandmother with the disposition of  hen watching over her chicks.

009Finally, we found two seats.  Once we settled in a man loaded down with camera equipment, child paraphernalia, camel water sack and most likely his wife’s purse tried to maneuver through the aisles looking for a seat.  He stood in our way during the program oblivious that he made a much better wall than a window.

The same grandmother shooed him away twice.  He kept moving back row after row.  Then, he crowded into the row behind me and bludgeoned my head with a couple of his bags.

I grabbed his arm and shot a look of defiance.  He emerged from his languishing stupor with an immediate flare of a short temper.  A fierce look and firm grasp allayed his near loss of control and he apologized profusely for his Neanderthal lack013 of grace.

While he flailed about with his multiple burdens strapped to his chest and back, I protected my bride’s head with my hand.  I trusted my reflexes to ward off any flying bags.  The danger passed.

It’s the New Year and time to be happy.  Anxiety with crowded people problems not-with-standing can be set aside.  It is time to celebrate and celebrate big.  Happy New Year, everyone!

photo credit: brucefong photography