Happy New Year! I know our New Year's celebrations are long over but the celebrations have just begun in China. The start to the Chinese New Year was on February 10th this year. "This year?", you may ask. Unlike our New Year, which is the same date for each calendar year, the Chinese New Year follows a lunisolar calendar where the full phases of the moon determine the months. The Chinese New Year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice which, in 2013, was on February 10.
The festivities for the Chinese New Year last for fifteen days, where each day celebrates a different aspect of Chinese culture. Celebratory practices include dressing up in red clothing, lighting fireworks, decorating red paper with poems and inspirational quotes and giving gifts of "lucky money". Lucky money is given anonymously among friends and family with the message of "wealth" written on a red envelope. The red symbolizes fire, which wards off bad luck in the new year. The entire country shuts down for one week, but often workers take a month off from work to visit their families. Because of this, much of the electronic cigarette industry comes to a halt in China. This year Smilin decided to bring some of the celebration to his family at Vapor4Life for our holiday party.
Walking into Szechwan Kingdom, I was greeted by Smilin with his jovial smile and the essence of the Chinese New Year surrounded me. The smell of traditional Chinese cuisine filled the room. I walked in the main room to see the Vapor4Life family enjoying the live music of Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah. The entire team was there with their loved ones and everyone was having an excellent time. This was the first holiday party for many of the new members of the Vapor4Life team so it was great seeing everyone come together as if we'd been together for years. Smilin was the life of the party, dancing from table to table and singing on stage with the band, long-time friends of his.
The food was phenomenal. Entrees included huge Empress Shrimp, savory Szechwan Beef, and mouth-watering Peking Duck that melted in your mouth. Luckily we were able to try everything! I even asked the owner if he could teach me his recipes but of course, he respectfully declined. Later in the night, Smilin surprised us all when he held a raffle for Chicago Bulls tickets, which Audrey won. She could not believe she won! Coming together and sharing dinner truly brought us together and was very much a family gathering. I look forward to growing closer with the old and the new members of the V4L Family in 2013.
Smilin and Vapor4Life have great things planned for 2013, to truly make it a special year.