Sunday, February 7, 2016

It’s the YEAR OF THE MONKEY and may your imagination go leaping happily from book to book

What I enjoy about traditional new year celebrations is that you always end up sharing lots of old stories.

These might be folk tales, like the classic one about how in ancient China there was a dragon that bullied the villagers, until people learnt to scare off the dragon by making a terrible noise. They would bang on drums and smash cymbals together. And that’s why we have the traditional dragon dance today, to remember this fantastic victory.

Or, the stories might be anecdotes about past lunar new year celebrations. About how life used to be simpler, and people took traditions a lot more seriously. About the fun we had when the children got together once a year, in the years before the internet and smartphones and Facebook and Instagram. The crazy family gatherings, with nice food and nasty feuds. How much, or little, money you could expect to find in your red packets back then. And so on.

That’s one tradition that hasn’t changed much. Children still look forward to receiving red packets. There’s money inside. It buys them sweets, toys, mobile game apps, and so on. And then the money’s quickly gone.

But remember to give them super cool stories too. So that they’ll have great tales to share, many years from now.

— D

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