Sunday, November 6, 2011
A NEW YEAR'S REUNION
This is not only an entertaining, joyously illustrated story but an introduction to the observances of another culture. Sadly, it is also a reminder of the hardships others endure - we’re told that today there are “over 100 million migrant workers in China, many of whom work hundreds or sometimes thousands of miles away from home, returning only once each year, for just a few days, at New Year’s.”
While the family in A New Year’s Reunion is fictional, it is probably typical of many. Maomao’s father works very far away but it is almost time for him to come home for New Year’s. When he does arrive Maomao has difficulty recognizing him as he’s grown a beard and his hair is longer. But, after a visit to the barber he looks just like the papa Maomao remembers.
These few days are a time of festivities and fun. Firecrackers go off throughout the night; there is a dragon dance; and they make sticky rice balls. We learn it’s the custom to hide a coin in one of the balls, and whoever finds the coin will have good luck.
All too soon it is time for papa to return to work, and he will be away for another year. For them that is their way of life.
- Gail Cooke