We arrived in Kunming, Yunnan on Jan. 23rd, so we had just a couple days to prepare for the Chinese New Year. And "what?" might you ask, does the typical Kunmingite to prepare for the holiday? Clean. Clean. Clean. It's said that if anything (house, clothes, you) is dirty during the arrival of the new year, then it will be dirty the whole next year. That sounded crazy to me, but who am I to argue with thousands years of tradition. So, clean everything we did: all of our clothing, every inch of her parents apartment including the food containers, etc. And then we ate. The eating never really stopped. Every meal was prepared to the excess with all of her family's favorite dishes. We ate pork, chicken, beef, fish, lamb, every kind of vegatable possible, local cheese, rice, noodles and it was all delicious. On the day of the new year, we visited most of Karen's relative's houses, eating more and more at each place. At her uncle's house we got a chance to witness an artist at work. In the below video, you can watch as 10 year old cousin wishes us happy and lucky new year in Chinese calligraphy. At about that point, the fireworks began and lasted until about a week later when the festivities died down.
If you ask a Chinese person how they celebrate the new year, the most common response is: 'be with my family'. This was definitely true as I got the chance to be a member of the Yi and Liu families this new year.