For Chinese New Year 2009 I was invited to join a lovely Taiwanese family up in Danshui, just north of Taipei. The whole area enjoys an amazing view of the Tamshui river and the surrounding mountains.
The area has some beautiful nature hikes to explore with a walking path and bicycle routes along the small rivers.
The guys in the family taught me some great gambling games (two people – 0,5,10,15,20 ; group – includes or divides by seven ; 6 dice ; fingers), but I was usually WAY too slow to give them any serious competition.
The food was terrific…
the company was great fun…
and as night came…
I headed out to tour Danshui.
There were fireworks -everywhere-. Here’s a small collection of fireworks videos from all over Danshui area.
There was a very big temple nearby, I’m not sure what the name was (Goddess of Mercy?), and thousands of Taiwanese were visiting each of the hundreds of Gods inside.
I couldn’t help but constantly compare my two very positive experiences in Chinese New Year with the Israeli Jewish New Year. Both have similar core values – both are around family gatherings, both have a symbolic meaning regarding the relationship between man and God/environment, both are filled with strange rituals and odd costumes, both provide a much needed 2-3 days break from daily routine, yet to me – they feel totally different. Moments before my departure from Taiwan, this Chinese New Year was a reminder of how close I’ve come to and how strongly I feel towards all that’s Taiwan.