Ever since 6am? this morning - we've had an insurgance of firecrackers for the entire day!! I don't think we've had a quiet 20 minutes all day. The fifth day of Spring Festival is called "PoWu." The word "PO" means "smash, break, defeat, end." In the past, there were many taboos surrounding the Spring Festival - but on this day all taboos are broken. Today is the fifth day of the New Year celebrations (we have 15 days total, so 10 more days to come!) which is marked by a few interesting traditions:
1. Everyone eats lots of homemade Jiaozi 饺子 (potstickers/dumplings). It is a custom that jiaozi be homemade completely - without the use of machines (food processors) for any of the chopping. This makes for quite a bit of work - but it is believed that the coming year will go well as all bad things are chopped away. They are quite scrumptious too!!
2. Welcoming the god of wealth: Legend says that today is his birthday! Families welcome him and better fortune for their family in the coming year. Some people will prepare carp or sheep head for this occasion. Old custom asks people to open all their doors at midnight to welcome the god of wealth into their homes.
3. Lighting firecrackers: people use firecrackers to break taboos and bad luck on this day. On this fifth day, its time to clean up & dump the trash. Lighting firecrackers will drive away all the "garbage" and bad luck from your family. Firecrackers also welcome the god of wealth. He prefers the loud bangs, I guess.
4. After all this, Businesses will re-open once again!! They have been closed for 4 days now, and we really miss our Nan bread man down the street. Oh the smell of fresh Nan bread....
They also make great pizza-crust!