Happy Year of the Snake everyone! 恭喜发财，万事如意！
I hope you’ve all enjoyed a reunion with family and friends, filled with good food and cheer.
This is one of the rare times of year when the streets of Shanghai are practically empty. The factories are shut down, traffic disappears, and for a week, its as if time itself stops. Its eery and strange, and I love it. Despite there not being a soul in sight, there seems to be no shortage of ear-splitting firecrackers on auto-erupt, all day and into the night. Not only does it ward off evil spirits, I’m sure it wakes up the dead as well.
Chinese New Year is for families, and every year millions of Chinese make the pilgrimage back home to 团聚 or reunite with family and loved ones. Food is always the main event, and for my family in Sichuan, the meal is anticipated and preparations begun days and weeks in advance. My grandparents always have dried, cured meat and sausages hanging…