Friday, October 2, 2009

China's 60th Birthday!

We are currently celebrating China's 60th birthday...1949-2009, from the time General Mao formed China's Peoples Republic. China is now more of a Socialist country, but still retains a communist party that helps the President govern. "President" is really a title more for the benefit of the rest of the world. It's easier to address one man in office, than an entire party of people.

We watched THE parade via satellite held in Tienanmen Square in Beijing. While the parade was was also kind of boring. I mean, we are used to much more "fanfare" than the chinese are for such events. This parade was about showing the strength of a nation, 60 years old, and it definitely didn't venture too far from it's purpose.

With THAT being said, I will say again, it was indeed impressive. According to a documentary done of the preparation for this event, the parade people have practiced their moves for many months...while using digital and computer technology to more finely perfect their march. No kidding. ALL of the parade marchers were in PERFECT step with one another. Also, they chose members of the parade with very specific height requirements. All the people were exactly the same height! Again, no kidding.

The parade began with an impressive show of people, using cards? or something, to keep changing the colors and titles of each segment of the parade. There were a LOT of people used to do this. Then, the President drove by a HUGE and impressive line of military forces lined up along the expansive street, all the while shouting something to each individual force and them shouting something back.

Afterwards, the parade actually began. Each "segment" was paraded before the President who stood on a balcony of sorts at Tienanmen Square. First, they paraded pictures of all the significant leaders since Mao...including Mao, himself, of course. Then they paraded China's great show of military presence, with tanks, rocket launchers, and missiles to boot. They had an air display as well. Then, they paraded China's great achievements in the last 60 years, ending with last year's Olympics and China's moon explorations. And finally, the "future" was represented by a float of expats and foreigners and finally ending with China's children.

It was a very impressive show of color and precision. The marchers in the parade (other than the military) displayed every color of the rainbow in both their costumes and their decorations. It was nice to see. The military display was quite impressive and...educational. There was some kind of regiment of JUST women, wearing bright fuscia, skirted uniforms and they were all carrying mini sub-machine guns. We don't exactly know what KIND of military they were since the entire broadcast was in the chinese language. All the women military personnel were in separate groups from the men who marched along the route. And all of the women were wearing skirts and high boots...with gun holsters.

The tanks and other military machinery was also impressive. They had green/brown tanks, blue/white tanks and pure white tanks...all with matching rocket launchers in the same colors. That was interesting.

So, in combination with China's birthday, we are also once again celebrating China's annual Moon Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. The boys have about 12 days off from school and Allen has about 8 days off from work.

So far, it has been very nice to have a little R&R with the family. Since just about EVERY chinese person is travelling within the country at this time, we have decided to spend some of our Holiday, resting at home...and the other part going somewhere not too far away.

The purpose of the Moon Festival is to think about or visit the home towns of chinese families. So, LOTS of people travel during this time of year. It's CRAZY, really! People have been known to be delayed in getting back home from their Holiday for three days to a week, because the trains are so overloaded. Yikes! And all other transportation during this time is heavily overloaded as well.

Next week, we are going on our mini Holiday and I'll let you all know how that goes! Happy Moon Festival and we are thinking of all our loved ones back home!!

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