When Does It Stop?

1 Jan

black friday ritualIn the midst of one over-hyped holiday, the media longs for the next consumer bacchanal, when Asian-Americans can make their contribution to the American consumerist religion.

At crowded shopping plazas in Los Angeles’ Chinatown and Koreatown, the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County’s Little Saigon, seasonal foods line bakery shelves, holiday music plays on open-air speakers and Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese consumers are spending big — yet again — on their most important annual celebration.

The Year of the Snake begins Feb. 10. Those born under this sign are believed to have a good temper and strong passion, but can be suspicious.

The Lunar New Year is a time when debts are paid, arguments are laid to rest, hair is cut and homes are painted and polished and rituals are followed to sweep away ill fortune and welcome good luck. Doors and windows are decorated with themed images of happiness, prosperity and longevity, and incense is lighted in temples to pay respect to ancestors.

Reading through some of the quotes in the article, there is something traditional to the lunar new year observance, just as there is something profoundly immemorial about the intent surrounding the western observance of the solar version.

Long ago, the child of ‘the new year,’ was named Dionysus; and as an infant he was carried about by the old men Silenus and Hermes.

Back in that day, the child Dionysus, was born at this time of year …when the dark is lifting and the light of day is growing and remaining with us longer…

Long ago, the child represented bright new life, fresh imagination, sunny impetuosity, joyous spirit without end.

Though in late forms, Dionysus was degraded into the ‘God of drunkenness,’ in earlier times, the way I would put it, is it seems he may have stood for the kind of psychic intoxication– that comes from knowing what could be called the et Deus, ‘the God in all things.’

And the old man who carried the child in his arms, represented the senex, that is, the wise old man; the one who had lived long, who knew the preciousness of new life, the locations of the ‘trip and fall-down’ places, the detours and long-cuts, the underground pathways through…and the old man was the child’s protector.

New Year is a Time of Mending and Melding: The Elders Need the Young, and The Young Need Their Elders.

It’s this hunger for an endless shopping spree that is the frustrating nuisance. Perhaps we can relegate this feeding frenzy to Black Friday, and just let apathy relegate the traditional holidays to their proper traditions and rituals.


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