Celebrating the Spring Festival, Canton-Style

One of the most charming aspects of celebrating the Spring Festival holidays in Guangzhou is the fact that flower fairs proliferate all over the city during this special holiday period.

My Cantonese friends had advised me that it is a time-honoured and beloved tradition in this part of southern China to visit these flower fairs, entire family in tow, to browse the radiantly blooming flowers on display and perhaps buy a good luck offering (or three) for one’s home or workplace for the New Year.

The entrance gate of the Yuexiu Flower Fair, all decked out in festive lights. Such drama, we love!

The entrance gate of the Yuexiu Flower Fair, all decked out in festive lights. Such drama, we love!

Brisk trade in flowers and plants aside, usually there may also be lantern exhibitions and general musical entertainment to amuse the public, as well as masses of peddlers hawking everything from colourful snacks and traditional gifts, such as handcrafted spinning windmills for children to carry, to general rubbish (e.g. ridiculous Angry Bird hats, anyone?). In short, flower fairs are nothing short of all-around spectacles for the senses.

One mild winter evening, Herr Hubby and I grabbed the camera and braved the immense crowds to visit one of the flower fairs in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district. Oh, how we loved it! We spotted other families of foreigners like us, enjoying the festivities as well.

It was certainly the happiest I’ve ever seen the Chinese people to be (well, apart from the ecstatic crowds during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing). Everyone was in merry, festive spirits – even the cops were all smiling – and why not??? 

Take a look at a few of our snaps  below and you’ll see why the festive mood at the flower fair was so infectious – no winter blues here, duckies!!!

To make sure you've got pots of luck for the New Year, buy 'em up in pots! Makes sense, no?

To make sure you’ve got pots of luck for the New Year, buy ’em up in pots! Makes sense, no?

Festive lanterns lit up the evening sky...

Festive lanterns lit up the evening sky…

...and if pots of luck weren't enough, you can load 'em up by the basketload!

…and if pots of luck weren’t enough, you can snap ’em up by the basketload!

Herr Hubby & I thought these were cute, so we bought a couple. The kitty cat for his office and the elephant for our home/my office...

Herr Hubby & I thought these were cute, so we bought a couple. The kitty cat for his office and the elephant for our home/my office…

...and may the gods of wealth smile benevolently on us all during this Year of the Snake!

…and may the gods of wealth smile benevolently on us all during this Year of the Snake!

On that hopeful note, we end our little foray into Guangzhou’s Spring Festival Flower Fair, our dear Stiletto-istas. Hope you’ve enjoyed the scenery as much as we did that evening.

Have a fabu-LOUS weekend, y’all!!!

Why Hello, Snake! Gong Xi Fa Cai, Xin Nian Kuai Le!!!

We CANNOT believe that it’s been a full MONTH and a half since we last communicated with you, Stiletto-istas…

Indeedy, we had thought that January & February would be the slow & sleepy twins. Aren’t they always. especially for those of us China ressies? Caught in between the frenzied madness of Christmas/New Year and – for those unfortunate enough to be travelling – the chaos of “Chunyun” (also known as the world’s largest annual human migration, when millions of Chinese travel home for the Lunar New Year), January & February have been traditionally regarded in the China-based workplace as a “wash”. In other words, it’s fine if your brain went out to lunch and never came back because EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING THE SAME THING.

Anyhooz, I was all set to snuggle on my couch under a cashmere blankie and for my brain to be junking out for two deliciously lazy months catching up on DVD marathons of Downton Abbey, Revenge, Mad Men, The Walking Dead and the gloriously perverse American Horror Story. Oh – and of course, the final season of Gossip Girl – because, well, DUH! – I just HAD TO find out if Chuck did end up with Blair. I mean, seriously, darlings, don’t you????

Well, snow bunnies, looks like the Snake may slither over with blessings this year because work has been FRIGHTFULLY busy! We still work from home – we ain’t considering anything else – but let’s just say, we’ve thankfully picked up a couple of mighty lucrative and highly enjoyable gigs here and there.

Chucking aside the DVDs (for now) and determined to welcome the Snake and all the good luck that the Lunar New Year brings, we switched out our Christmas decorations in favour of Spring Festival decorations at Casa Stiletto. Here’s a quick Instagram look at our efforts:

Welcoming the blessings of luck & prosperity from the Snake discreetly begins at Casa Stiletto's front door. From our local Metro supermarket, can't remember the price exactly but hella cheap.

Welcoming the blessings of luck & prosperity from the Snake discreetly begins at Casa Stiletto’s front door. From our local Metro supermarket, can’t remember the price exactly but hella cheap.

On the first day of "Chunjie" (Lunar New Year), it is traditional to have a Lion Dance bless your place of business or home. Hang a vegetable offering and "hongbao" (little red packet containing cash in even-numbered denominations only) for the Lion to gobble and he gets to keep the hongbao and you keep the veggies.  Herr Hubby & I were excited that our residential compound arranged a lion dance for residents on the first morning of Chinese New Year and residents could invite them to their home, if they wished. So, we did! And so to Casa Stiletto they noisily and colourfully came, drums and cymbals banging & crashing, two golden lions gyrating & wiggling their tails. I have to say, it was FUN :-)!

On the first day of “Chunjie” (Lunar New Year), it is traditional to have a Lion Dance bless your place of business or home. Hang a vegetable offering and “hongbao” (little red packet containing cash in even-numbered denominations only) for the Lion to gobble and he gets to keep the hongbao and you keep the veggies. Herr Hubby & I were excited that our residential compound arranged a lion dance for residents on the first morning of Chinese New Year and residents could invite them to their home, if they wished. So, we did! And so to Casa Stiletto they noisily and colourfully came, drums and cymbals banging & crashing, two golden lions gyrating & wiggling their tails. I have to say, it was a FUN spectacle!

Gorgeous red lanterns abound during the weeks leading to Chinese New Year, so how could I resist? Picked up a couple from our local supermarket and hung them at the balcony. Love them!

Gorgeous red lanterns abound during the weeks leading to Chinese New Year, so how could I resist? Picked up a couple from our local supermarket and hung them at the balcony. Love them!

One of the most charming aspects of celebrating Chinese New Year in Guangzhou are all the Spring Festival Flower Fairs proliferating in the city. Herr Hubby & I ventured out with the camera one evening & captured the colourful festive sights - more on that in another post - and also picked up this cute little good luck flower offering.

One of the most charming aspects of celebrating Chinese New Year in Guangzhou are all the Spring Festival Flower Fairs proliferating in the city. Herr Hubby & I ventured out with the camera one evening & captured the colourful festive sights – more on that in another post – and also picked up this cute little good luck flower offering.

It's also traditional to have a Spring Festival tree during Chinese New Year, much as we have a Christmas tree at Christmas. Herr Hubby & I searched for something pretty while still fairly traditional and found these little beauties at a flower market. SO gorgeous!!!

It’s also traditional to have a Spring Festival tree during Chinese New Year, much as we have a Christmas tree at Christmas. Herr Hubby & I searched for something pretty while still fairly traditional and found these little beauties at a flower market. SO gorgeous!!!

Here's how the Spring Festival mini-tree looked on our coffee table at Casa Stiletto...and as Valentine's Day this year fell in the middle of Chinese New Year, our mini-tree is flanked by a bouquet of roses, a couple glasses of champagne and a bowl of late-night chicken curry. Hahaaaa!

Here’s how the Spring Festival mini-tree looked on our coffee table at Casa Stiletto…and as Valentine’s Day this year happened during the middle of Chinese New Year, our mini-tree is flanked by a bouquet of roses, a couple glasses of champagne and a bowl of late-night chicken curry. Hahaaaa!

...and check out the roses bloomin' when transferred to a vase. Looks hella beautiful on our living room console table.

…and check out the roses bloomin’ when transferred to a vase. Looks hella beautiful on our living room console table.

What about you, duckies, did you celebrate Chinese New Year in YOUR part of the world???
As we hunker down for the weekend, our dear Stiletto-istas…from the hearts of Casa Stiletto to yours, we would like to wish you a Happy, Healthy and Sizzlingly Prosperous Year of the Snake!!!
Gong Xi Fa Cai, Xin Nian Kuai Le, Happy New Year!!!

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