[Village life] The Chinese New Year approaching

It is January 20th today, 2017. But according to Chinese traditional lunar calendar, it is still December 2016. In most years the lunar calendar is about one month behind solar calendar.
Today is December 22th according to the lunar calendar and we are 8 days away from the end of 2016, as well as Spring Festival.

Jinjing Town has been influenced by the modern culture and lifestyles coming from the city of Changsha for a hundred years, and our lifestyle has transformed into an international standard town in my ways, in just 30 years. We did not have electricity until when I was about ten years old. I was doing my homeworks/reading my first storybook on the side of an oil lamp which could so easily burned the mosquito net and burn me if I was not careful at that age…

But we can still sense the power of traditions of hundreds of years during this special time, spanning from the second half days of December to the first half of January of the new year.
Paying/receiving the salary/debts is one of the major activities in this period. Many families and small businesses have hired labors/carpenters working on various projects: building houses for example, the tradition allows us to pay them at the end of the year. We do not need to pay them right away when the job is done. We pay them during important festivals or when they need money in serious occasions: wedding, funeral, college entrance, hospital bills, etc. There are trusts among people. You do not see that in the cities anymore, not like this.

Chinese people are not religious and we never go to a church or temple to pray regularly. Only during Spring Festival many families go to a local temple to pray for the peace and wellness of the family. When my father was alive, he would go alone in the first day, at dawn, like many others. Going to the GuanYin Temple as early as possible may avoid the impressive crowd, more importantly, it shows the goddess they prayers are sincere.

Nowadays the temple is taken care of by monks and female temple practitioners/keepers. They live in the small temple and asked the pilgrims not to set off firecrackers anymore so that the Buddhas, goddess and themselves can enjoy the peace. “You do not need to be loud to show you are sincere when you pray.” That’s what the female temple keepers told the pilgrims.

I wish I find the peace this year.

This is the house I grew up, the right part. My father was standing in front of the house in Spring Festival. Today when I write this blog, everything has changed around this place. The old house is gone, the person in the picture is gone. But
The family is still here.