It’s Lunar New Year.
I know there’s no chance of humanity collectively switching to a new calendar, but the lunar year has always made a lot of sense to me.
For one thing, the Sun is a fickle dingus, vanishing every night, daring you to look at it during the day, and horrendously punishing you with cornea damage if you do.
Not like the Moon, that chill bae in the sky. Visible night AND day, oftentimes transformed into an adorkable, lopsided grin. The Moon is our planet’s manic pixie dream girl, reflecting only the best of the Sun’s light and being all quirky and daring us to have wild adventures and build Space Force bases on it and junk.
But I digress.
In my half-Chinese household, Lunar New Year is Chinese New Year, by thunder, and that means red envelopes, dim sum, and a phone call to 婆婆.
Only this year, thanks to COVID, that perpetual mistress of torment, at least some of these activities are a no-go.
Oh, I can definitely still call my 婆婆, but dim sum, clearly the most vital of traditions, is a hard nope.
I considered toting a piece of rolling luggage around my apartment, chock full of Save-On-Foods’ frozen appetizers and entrees, pretending my dog, Bailey, was an eager customer awaiting Har Gow and Siu Mai. I’d tick off Bailey’s table card and top her tea up with a Dr. Who thermos I have kicking around.
Bereft, then, of this annual culinary foray, and the accompanying visit to the chinese bakery for delicious bao, followed by the customary trip to the medicine cabinet for Pepto Bismol, I am left to ask myself: is Chinese New Year more than just tasty deep-fried noms hand-delivered on rolling carts?
But alas, though my pooch’s palate wouldn’t know the difference between an imaginary COVID-apartment dim sum and the genuine article, I would. And my homemade fortune cookies, containing wisdoms such as “Cry less today maybe?” aren’t cutting it.
This is the year of the Ox, I am reliably told by several tweets from politicians.
The METAL OX, if we’re being specific, which sounds absolutely badass, like something that was birthed off a Judas Priest album cover and wielding a battle axe.
It’s supposed to be a symbol of sturdiness and reliability, hard work and perseverance. It’s the type of animal that brings to mind an image of solid steadfastness.
In that vein then…maybe it’s not so crazy to just keep sheltering in place. Maybe that’s the best way to celebrate this Lunar New Year, gazing up at Moon bae and thinking of the dim sums of tomorrow, which will follow a hard year of Ox-headed hard work.
And it’s always, always, always a good time to call your 婆婆.