John smiled with admiration as he hung my new down jacket up for me. “You can wear it on chuyi,” he said, a Mandarin term for the first day of the Chinese New Year.
This down jacket would join the red underwear, red bras, red long-sleeved shirt, red sweater, red-striped socks, and the jeans tucked into a Calvin Klein bag in the corner of our closet.
My heart fluttered with excitement, even though it surely seemed out of place in the Northern US in early January, a time when the snow outside our window looks as white and melancholy as a funeral in China.
But my marriage to John has become my own personal solution to the January blues — with him in my life, I now have another holiday to look forward to. And according to the tradition in his family and hometown, that means a new set of clothing — it’s auspicious to start the lunar new year wearing something new from head to toe.
There’s also a Chinese New Year’s Eve banquet for us to prepare. I imagine stir-fried bok choy, pickled daikon radishes, homestyle tofu, and the roast duck and ribs that will make John salivate, along with an auspicious dessert of eight treasures glutinous rice.
And I can’t wait to take a trip out to the local Chinese supermarkets, where we’ll find a wealth of decorations for the new year — plastic red firecrackers, red couplets, and, hopefully, a lovely paper snake we can hang on the wall.
So, January, do your worst. I’m not afraid of your mournful, snowy days, a time when most people struggle to return to their lives, leaving behind all the holiday mirth and magic. I’ve still got more holidays yet to enjoy — not to mention one gorgeous down jacket that awaits me — and I’ve got a Chinese husband to thank for that.