My first Chinese New Year in Suzhou

And, just like that, the Chinese New Year holidays are over! As I mentioned in my previous post, this was the first time I spent this holiday in Suzhou. Chinese New Year has a reputation for being a week in which you basically just eat, eat, eat, watch tv and then eat some more, but we managed to do more things and  didn’t even eat an exaggerated amount. We did have a dinner with my MIL’s side of the family in which Baby A. was the absolute star, as the only other grandchild in the family is already 11 years old and oh boy do Chinese people like babies. He was passed around the uncles, aunties and cousins and he was all smiles and happiness, so everybody was charmed. I was asked if all foreign babies are this well behaved, because Chinese babies are usually not. Sorry, I have no idea as I haven’t met many other babies. Maybe he’s just very sociable (he must have got that from his dad, definitely not from me).

For Chinese New Year’s eve we had dinner at home with C.’s parents so it was a quiet night. I didn’t even watch the Spring Gala as I find it terribly boring, especially the supposedly comical sketches. We had planned to go to a lake in the outskirts of Suzhou where it is allowed to throw firecrackers and fireworks (as it’s not allowed inside the city), but the baby had a bit of a cough so I stayed home with him and C. went with his friends. Little did I know this was to be the start of Our First Family Cold as the three of us ended up getting it, and yours truly is currently typing with a very stuffy nose and a bad cough.

We went to see the temple fair in Tiger Hill, and although it was not as exciting as I was expecting, it was nice to go and see it. Also, the air quality was acceptable almost every day of the holidays so that helped to lift my spirits too. I wanted to see the lion dances in Tiger Hill but we didn’t know what time they were and we missed them. Oh well. Next year it might be easier to just go to a mall as they are usually also performed there.

The pagoda on top of Tiger Hill.

It is tilted, although not as much as in this picture…

There was an exhibition of old pictures taken in Tiger Hill. In this one, two friends had their photo taken in 1944 and now, when they are over 90 years old.

Family picture.

I obviously had to take some stupid pic…

Lucky charms.

Another day we went to Xiyuan, a Buddhist temple on the west side of Suzhou where local people go during CNY to pray and burn incenses. The night before it had snowed so it was very cold. The temple has two very famous attractions, one is a hall with 500 different statues of arhats and the other is the pond in the back garden in which supposedly two giant soft shell turtles live (however, according to Wikipedia, one died in 2007 at the venerable age of 400 years and the other has disappeared).

The Xiyuan temple.

The pond where the giant turtles live(d).

We also met with several friends and went to different malls to have lunch, but that wasn’t really very holiday themed! Except one restaurant that gave Baby A. red envelopes with discounts inside…


Did you celebrate Chinese New Year?