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[Lin Yutang] Lanterns, gongs and fireworks: A Chinese philosopher recalls his boyhood
  作者:Lin Yutang (林语堂) | 中国民俗学网   发布日期:2019-02-10 | 点击数:7401
 

What! No turnip pudding

After coming home, I found that someone from my native place had presented me with a pot of narcissus, the narcissus which made my native place nationally famous and which reminded me of New Year's Day in my childhood.I could not shut my eyes without the entire picture of my childhood coming back to me.

At lunch, the smell of the narcissus made me think of the New Year rice-pudding, made with turnips.

"This year, no one has sent us any turnip pudding, "I said sadly.

"It's because no one came from Amoy.Otherwise, they would have sent it, "said my wife.

"I remember once I bought exactly the same kind of pudding in a Cantonese shop on Wuchang Road.I think I can still find it."

"No, you can't", challenged my wife.

"Of course I can, "I took up the challenge.

By three o'clock in the afternoon I was already in a bus on my way home from North Szechuen Road with a big basket of nienkao weighing two and a half pounds.

At five, we ate the fried nienkao, and with the room filled with the subtle fragrance of narcissus, I felt terribly like a sinner."I'm not going to celebrate New Year's Eve, "I said resolutely;"I'm going to the movies tonight."

"How can you?"asked my wife."We have invited Mr.Ts...to dinner this evening."It all looked pretty bad.At half-past-five, my youngest child appeared in her new red dress.

"Who put on the new dress for her?"I rebuked, visibly shaken, but still gallant.

"Huangma did, "was the reply.Huangma and Chouma were our maids.

By six o'clock, I found red candles burning brightly on the mantelpiece, their lapping flames casting a satirical glow of triumph at my Scientific Consciousness.My Scientific Consciousness was, by the way, already very vague and low and unreal.

"Who lighted the candles?"again I challenged.

"Chouma did, "was the reply.

"Who bought the candles?"I demanded.

"Why, you bought them yourself this morning."

"Oh, did I?"It cannot have been my Scientific Consciousness that did it.It must have been the Other Consciousness.

I thought I must have looked a little ridiculous, the ridiculousness coming less from the recollection of what I did in the morning than from the conflict of my head and my heart at that moment.I was soon startled out of this mental conflict by the"bomb-bah"of fire crackers in my neighbourhood.One by one, those sounds sank into my deep consciousness.They have a way of shaking the Chinese heart that no European knows.The challenge of my neighbour on the east was soon taken up by my neighbour on the west, until it grew into a regular fusillade.

I was not going to be beaten by them.Pulling out some money, I said to my boy:

"Ah-ching, take this and buy me some heaven-and-earth firecrackers and some rattle firecrackers, as loud as possible and as big as possible.Remember, the bigger and the louder the better."

So amidst the"bomb-bah"of firecrackers, I sat down to the New Year's Eve dinner.And I felt very happy in spite of myself.

Lin Yutang

Lin Yutang, Chinese philosopher and writer, Is universally known for his books on Chinese life and customs.Among some of the more famous are:"The Importance of Living", "My Country and'My People"and the"Wisdom of China and India".

The UNESCO Courier,  December 1955

 

 

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  文章来源:The UNESCO Courier, December 1955
【本文责编:CFNEditor】

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