Burning offerings for the dead on New Year's Eve ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn
Today is Chinese New Year's Eve, the last year of "my year", the Year of the Rat. I have worn something red for an entire year. Tomorrow, on the first day of the Year of the Ox, I will be able to lay it aside as I'll no longer need it's extra protection. They say that when the rat year comes around the naughty rat drags in lots of bothersome things into the year. The ox will have a hard time cleaning up the mess but will hopefully succeed in the end, hardworking animal that it is. To be honest it has been a VERY tumultuous year in China: winter ice storms, riots, train crashes, earthquakes and milk scandals but also wonderful things like the enormous outpouring of help for the earthquake victims, the camaraderie and warmth the crisis created and the magic, pomp and FUN of the Olympics.
The passing of a year is a good time to reflect back on both good times and bad and send close friends and loved ones a special thought. In this way I would like to remember a few of my dearest friends who have been very sick this year and also one that so very untimely passed away. I think of you often and wish you a very Happy New Year!