I could live my life on Pinterest. It caters to all my quirks in addition to my love of cork board. I created this Pinterest board to the YA Scavenger Hunt last month. I’ll post the link here in case you want to look around. It has some of my favorite websites about Angel Island and San Francisco. Continue reading “Fire Horse Girl Info and Inspiration”
It is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, also known as Double Seventh Day. I have often heard this day described as the Chinese Valentines Day although it seems to have its own unique traditions and celebrations. It’s also called Young Women’s Day or Daughter’s Day. Continue reading “Double Seventh Festival – Chinese Valentines Day”
For National Poetry Month, I am posting poems from the walls of the barracks on Angel Island. Continue reading “Angel Island Poetry”
Happy National Poetry Month. I thought I would celebrate by sharing some of my favorite poems from the Angel Island Immigration Station. Continue reading “Poetry of Angel Island”
“That is what I always thought love would be. A kind of understanding.”
“You are very romantic for a Fire Horse,” Spring Blossom said.
“Maybe. I also like the story of the kitchen god who throws himself into the fire.”
This is a story that I tried to work into THE FIRE HORSE GIRL several time. None of my attempts were successful because it is one of those great pieces that exist outside the story an author is telling at that moment. In the final version of THE FIRE HORSE GIRL, it exists only in the one line above. Still, I think Jade Moon would have a complicated and interesting relationship with the story. It is a good story, so she would like that. It ends with some pretty brutal justice, which would probably meet with her approval. On the other hand, she might not like that Zhang ends up as the eyes and ears of the Jade Emperor inside every household…including hers. Continue reading “Chinese New Year – Kitchen God”
Nushi bustled in and out of the kitchen carrying plate after plate of food. I helped until I tipped a pile of tangerines into a bowl of rice.
As the Chinese New Year celebrations continue, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the traditional foods of the holiday. Food is an important part of the celebration. Relatives are greeted with the words “Have you eaten yet.” I love all the symbolism served with the foods and dishes.
Serve tangerines for luck and oranges and pineapples for wealth and good fortune. Apples bring wisdom and peace. Pomegranates with their treasure of seeds bring many off-springs.
Walnuts bring happiness for families and peanuts bring health and long life.
Fish is served whole. The center is eaten, but the head and tail are left in tact. It symbolizes a good start and finish to the year. It also means that there will be excess in the new year. Many ingredients are kept whole during new years meals since there is not supposed to be cutting in the new year.
The number of dishes is also important. Dishes are kept in even numbers to ensure double happiness in the new year.
Here are a couple of my favorites – spring roles, a symbol of wealth because their shape resembles a gold bar, and the Tray of Togetherness. It is a tray, usually divided into compartments (usually eight since it is an auspicious number) and filled with sweets and fruits such as kumquats (prosperity), coconut (togetherness), and red melon seeds (happiness).
THE FIRE HORSE GIRL begins on the day before the new year. It is a time of preparation and looking forward – a perfect starting place for a journey. I loved researching the preparations that Nushi and Jade Moon would be busy with on this day for the first chapter.
Since tomorrow is the first day of the Chinese New Year celebration. If you haven’t started preparing yet, here are a few traditions you might embrace:
Clean – your house, yourself, and your life. Sweep the house for the beginning of the year to get rid of any of the leftover bad luck from the old year. Once the new year starts, you should not get out the brooms for a couple of weeks for fear that you might sweep away the new good luck. Once the house is clean, you can start to fill it with flowers – daffodils, hyacinths, lotus, peony. Avoid white since it is the color of funerals. You can also decorate with red ribbon and paper with good luck signs on them.
To clean up your life, you should settle debts and resolve disagreements. You want to have a fresh start in the new year.
To clean up yourself, you can get a hair cut and cut your nails. Using scissors at the beginning of the new year might cut the luck you have coming your way. You can also buy new clothes.
More Chinese New Year posts to come! I hope you enjoy!
I wrote a blog post this week for Scholastic’s On Our Minds Blog about what inspired me to write The Fire Horse Girl. Click the link above to read. I hope you enjoy!