[編者的話]春節的生命力

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2011 / 2月

文‧滕淑芬



年味越來越淡了?似乎不少人都有此感受。都會區裡,貼春聯的人家少了,祭祖的也不多,春節真的變成一個普通的假日嗎?

農曆年前,104人力銀行的調查發現,將近一半(45.6%)的上班族對「準備過年」感到焦慮,焦慮主要來自「大掃除和做家事(62.7%)」、「準備紅包(57%)」,以及「想到又過了一年自己卻沒有長進(34.2%)」等。

做家事,想當然爾,是女主人的煩惱,男主人則可能因口袋不夠深,但又得扮演「散財童子」角色,心情格外沉重。至於年假有何計畫?104的調查顯示,43.8%的人想「在家補眠」,其次是「國內旅遊(32%)」、「回老家團聚(27%)」。

這項調查與我們的封面主題相呼應,對已婚婦女、單親、單身(包括同志)、弱勢與新移民家庭而言,因身分處境與經濟壓力的差異,年關,確實是他/她們的「天下第一關」。值此親人歡聚時刻,更要送上溫暖問候。

也許年味不再那麼濃厚,但現代人真的不喜歡過年嗎?那麼,為什麼有人會開始擔心:「春節會不會消亡?」

去年曾有大陸媒體因中國經濟快速發展,導致人際關係冷漠、疏離,家庭結構「割裂」,憂慮「春節的生命力」,會不會逐漸消失?而興起一陣維護傳統文化價值的熱烈討論。

美食作家韓良露曾談到她兒時濃濃的年味,來台五代,住在台南的阿嬤,為祭拜神明,虔誠炊蒸紅龜粿;除夕夜,父親會拿出早先做好的糯米甘酒釀,加水溫熱、再沖上雞蛋,香甜酒釀是守歲的點心;大年初一清早,還沒下床,爸爸又端上一碗紅棗桂圓蓮子湯,說吃了保一年平安,原來,「年味,是親情之味」。這個幸福滋味,就這麼伴著她走過一年又一年。

我的年味也與吃有關,小時住在眷村,南腔北調、夾雜流利閩南語的鄰居伯伯嬸嬸們,早早就會在陽台上,用竹竿晾上一串串的香腸臘肉,蒜苗炒臘肉是我家的必備年菜之一。午夜12點正,上香祭祖後,點燃鞭炮,遠近的鞭炮聲起起落落,嚇走年獸,象徵一元復始。如今這些傳統習俗,似乎只能在回憶裡尋找,現在孩子收到的紅包厚了,但卻可能「不識年滋味」,也是遺憾。

於是我們翻遍檔案,也要找出幾張傳統紅色喜氣的年畫、春聯、鞭炮應景,讓春節的生命力繼續滋長,也希望透過這個專題讓家人親友理解,過年就是家人快樂團聚,無須問太多、想太多,徒增個人壓力。

除了封面專題,本期另一個重量級議題,則介紹台灣獨步全球的石斑養殖技術,一月中,濕冷寒流發威,南部漁民冒著寒冬下水搶撈石斑和虱目魚,由於春節是石斑的旺季,希望老天眷顧,讓漁民少點損失,也讓家家戶戶「年年有餘」。

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近期文章

EN

[Editor's Note]The Vitality of Spring Festival

Teng Sue-feng /tr. by Phil Newell


Has the Chinese New Year lost its pizazz? Has it ceased to be the uniquely important holiday it used to be, when family all gathered together to feast and (ideally at least) enjoy each other's company? A lot of people feel it has. In cities, fewer and fewer people are putting up traditional New Year's couplets outside their doors, and not that many still do ceremonies to pay respects to their ancestors. Is the Chinese New Year becoming just another day off from work?

A recent survey by 104 Job Bank revealed that nearly half of respondents (45.6%) felt anxiety when preparing for the Lunar New Year. Why? Reasons included "having to do spring cleaning and lots of household chores" (62.7%), "having to give away red envelopes" (Chinese have traditionally given cash wrapped in red envelopes as the main gift at New Year), and "the arrival of the New Year means that another year has passed and I am no better off than I was the year before" (34.2%).

Extra housework is mainly a source of stress for women, while men are often under pressure to "pass out wealth" though they may not have deep pockets. As for their plans for the extended holiday, 104 discovered that 43.8% intended to "catch up on sleep at home"; this was followed by "domestic tourism" (32%) and "returning to the family home for a family reunion" (27%).

Our cover story this month echoes the survey's findings. In particular, the Chinese New Year can be tough for married women, single parents, single persons (including gays and lesbians), the disadvantaged, and new immigrants, sometimes because of the burdens imposed on them by cultural rules, sometimes because they are -novel groups for whom the old cultural traditions have no place, and sometimes for financial reasons.

If the New Year is such a hassle for so many, does it really matter, as some have worried, that "Chinese New Year is doomed to extinction"? This question prompted quite a debate last year in the mainland Chinese media about preserving traditional family culture in this atomizing age of rapid economic growth.

Yet many still have strong memories of happiness from childhood New Year holidays. My own New Year memories are closely tied up with food. When small I lived in a military dependents' community, with people from all over mainland China and a dose of native Taiwanese for our neighbors. They would start long before the New Year hanging out sausages and bacon on bamboo poles in the courtyard, and my family would never fail to have bacon fried with green garlic as one of the dishes at the New Year's Eve feast. At midnight, after paying respects to our ancestors, we would light firecrackers and the explosions of firecrackers all over the neighborhood would frighten away Nian beasts and symbolize the beginning of a new year.

Sadly, although today's children get much thicker red envelopes, the New Year probably lacks the same sentimental punch. Therefore we have flipped through our files for images that will hopefully lend more vigor to the holiday this year and contribute to carrying on old customs. We hope to remind people that Chinese New Year is a time for families to be harmoniously together, so don't worry so much or ask so much of others, or you will stress yourself out!

In addition to our cover story on the Lunar New Year, we also have stories on Taiwan's grouper aquaculture technology, which is totally unique in the world, and on how fish farmers in southern Taiwan waded through bracing water to save grouper and milkfish when low temperatures hit the area in January. Because Chinese New Year is the time of peak demand for grouper, let's hope that Heaven will protect these people and keep their losses to a minimum, and that everyone can enjoy a prosperous start to the New Year.

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