Spring Festival in Henan Countryside
We would like to thank our hosts, Coco and Kiki (and their parents), for welcoming us into their Spring Festival celebration. They live in Xinyang, Henan, but they grew up in a small village to the NW of Xinyang, about a 45-minutes drive. It was a beautiful experience, one for which we are deeply grateful. It reminds us of how Americans celebrate Christmas. In China, people make the effort to return home, to their places of origin, to reconnect with family and the land. In the last 30 years, China’s industrialization initiatives have produced more jobs in the cities, but at the expense of depleting its human work force in the countryside. People are moving out of the country and into the cities where there are jobs. The results are diminished villages as China becomes less agrarian than it was.
This experience hearkened back to simpler days: the house had electricity and a well and gravity plumbing. The nights were cold and we slept in all of our clothing (us in our sleeping bags) under a mound of blankets. Yet, the hearts of the village people were warm and inviting. The morning after, the tradition is for neighbors to welcome each other with a glass of hot green tea and to offer some sunflower seeds, peanuts, pine nuts, or watermelon seeds, and occasional sweet — or even better, a slice of sugar cane!
We watched a beautiful, four-hour pageant show on CCTV 1, which featured drama, singing, and choreography with feats of athleticism, precision, and balance. Though there was no English captioning, we were able to recognize famous personalities from Chinese films and billboards. It was a count-down gala event to midnight, when the skies erupted with lightning and sounds of thunder as every household across China, in villages, towns, and cities, ignited their fireworks at the same time. WOW!! It was an incredible, unforgettable experience. Thank you!