My heart goes Boom-Bang-A-Bang when they are near, Boom-Bang-A-Bang loud in my ears.
Honestly I hate firecrackers and the din they make, except for the time when I was playing with them in my kiddy days. And it was a hazard travelling on trishaws during CNY season, as unsavoury characters would throw packs of lit crackers at the passengers.
I remember in Penang, banks along Beach Road used to “challenge” one another with strings of firecrackers as long as 3 storeys tall. And afterwards, the streets were carpeted in a sea of red paper “shrapnels”.
For centuries, the Chinese have exploded huge fortunes in setting off firecrackers, celebrating the Lunar New Year, weddings, etc.
Other communities in Malaysia now too have keenly adopted this noisy practice for festive occasions such as Deepavali and the Hari Rayas, though it is unlawful.
The practice of feet-binding in ancient China must surely rank as one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind.
As I put words for this post, it grieves, horrifies and stupefies me – how could people crush and mutilate the feet of young girls, and grossly contort them by tightly binding up whatever were left, and then called them “beautiful” ?
My late grandma was one of the victims. As a young boy, I listened to the story of her ordeal, and it made cry an hour. At that time, she had already given up the bindings, and what I saw shocked me for life.
Despite her bound feet, as a young girl, she worked as a cowherd, and then later, after marriage, raised 4 kids and ran a sundry shop.
Decades ago, it was a tradition among the Chinese to engage in fowl play as part of the wedding ceremony for a newly-married couple.
After the formalities were done at the groom’s place, the wedding party would go to the bride’s home for the rituals at the maternal side. Accompanying their return to their matrimonial home would be a rooster and a hen, which would then be released under the newly-weds’ nuptial bed. If the rooster emerged first, that “augured” the first-born child would be a son, if the hen came out first, then a daughter.
In Chinese these are called 带路鸡 (or ‘chua lor kay’ in Penang Hokkien)
These days I believe most couples would chicken out at the prospect of having two live specimens foul up their love nest; don’t worry there are lots of mock ones available.
Chinese literary purists may get a cardiac arrest over this “ghastly” travesty of the great classical novel, 红楼梦.
But indeed a sparkling new spittoon with plenty of red color and the word “double-happiness” was a significant item for the marital chamber of a newly-married Chinese couple.
An “ang pow” was placed inside the potty, and then its mouth was sealed with a piece of red paper. Once the wedding ceremony was over, a young boy would be asked to smash through the red paper seal and retrieve the red packet. I learned that this was to help the couple to bring forth a son soon. True ? Am not sure.
I don’t think this practice is in vogue these days, as young couples have other more exciting wedding dreams apart from a red potty.