Lunar New Year 2014

A common sign placed in
front of businesses closed
during the new year.
A few days ago (January 31st) marked the beginning of the new year - the year of the horse!  Last year was my first new year here, and as I explained, it was a bit of a shock to the system for a few reasons.  But this year, I'm used to the stores being closed and all the chaos associated with preparations for the festivities.  I planned well and ran my errands at the bank and post offices before the government offices closed, yet I had to make a couple of killer trips to the grocery store right before the holidays started which meant pushing through crowds and not being able to buy certain things that were sold out.  But now, Taipei is relatively quiet and I'm enjoying it!  It's nice to ride the bus or walk down the street without there being too much of a crowd in places that are usually jammed with traffic.

New years items on sale at Carrefour.

This year is especially significant for me because it is my 本命年 (benmingnian) or zodiac year. Contrary to Western belief, this is not necessarily a good.  If you aren't careful, you could experience and increase of bad luck during your zodiac year.  I'm not sure if I believe that'll be the case for me, but I did read somewhere that I should be extra careful with my finances.  If it is your benmingnian, you're supposed to wear red everyday as well, but I don't think I'll go that far!

Naturally, aside from checking what the forecast will be for me this year, I ate an abundance of great food during the new year.  I'm amused by the fact that I now tend to gain weight around the Lunar New Year instead of around Thanksgiving and Christmas. But what can a girl do? There's simply too much good food around to eat!

This year's spread at a friend's house.
There is always lots of company.
My mom's turkey brought by my dad from all
 the way from the States was one of the centerpieces.  It was a hit!
No one is shy about digging in.
Everyone has waited all year for this!
That fish was amazing!
Fish is a requirement for any Lunar New Year feast as
有魚 (youyu), to have fish sounds similar to
有餘 (youyu) to have a surplus (of greatness of course)!
Having a laugh with my friend's mom.

Lunar New Year here is always lots of fun.  The fireworks, the company, the food, the food...the amazing food!

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