Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dumplings and Fireworks

 Chinese New Year is the biggest and most important holiday of the year in China.  It's a time for families to come together and everyone gets a break from work.  Things at Little Flower are a bit different, though - our children don't know their birth families and our staff can't all take a break from their work.

Still, we try to make this holiday a special event for our children and staff.  The small babies can sense the excitement, but we don't have special festivities just for them.  Of course we do want to thank our nannies for their commitment to our work, so this year we we organized a dumping making contest.

Dumplings are a traditional Chinese food that is an important part of Chinese New Year celebrations.  We divided our nannies into teams and they competed against each other to see which team could make the most dumplings, the most beautiful, and the smallest.  Some of their dumplings were no bigger than a fingernail!

Prizes were given for the winners of each category and much fun was had by all.  We are grateful to those who donated the funds for dumpling ingredients and the gifts and prizes that were awarded.  In addition, each nanny was given a small cash bonus in the traditional "red envelope"  - a small token of our appreciation for their hard work throughout the year.


The children in our group homes make and eat dumplings with their foster families, but one of the most exciting things for them are the fireworks that are a part of celebrations each year.  All over China there are fireworks set off, like on this street outside our group home apartments.

As we have done in the past, we took all of our group home children to a village in Hebei province to see some fireworks. Our friends in the village put on a spectacular show this year with some of the most impressive fireworks we have ever seen!  The photos below show some of the beautiful colors, but there is nothing like being there in person to experience the smoke, the incredibly flashes of light and of course, the deafening thunder as they explode.


Some of the younger children were frightened  to be so close; they peferred to watch from inside:


We had many different types of  fireworks, including this string that hung over the courtyard gate:

 Our fireworks display lasted nearly an hour, but the children's attention never wavered.  A chance to celebrate like this only comes around once a year!


 We ended our evening festivities by handing out a "red envelopes" with a small cash gift for each child.  Children traditionally receive these red envelopes at family gatherings during the new year holiday. 
 You should have seen (and heard!) the excitement when the red envelopes were presented!  Although we can never replace the parents and extended families that our children have lost, we try our best to give them a sense of value and belonging to our Little Flower family.  Thank you to all who make this possible!

 Happy year of the snake!

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