Chicago Tribune -- February 11, 1880Ah Sin's New Year. He Still Keeps it Up
To adopt that peculiar figure of speech, known as the Irish bull, it may be stated that the Chinese New-Year's Day lasts a whole week. The festive proceedings which Chicago's Mongolian inhabitants inaugurated Monday were sustained with but slight abatement yesterday. Visits were exchanged, and the mails from afar brought mementoes of distant friends in the shape of red visiting cards, of which large collections were to be seen in some of the laundries.
There are certain religious observances connected with the Chinese New-Year week which some few of the Chinese residents are following strictly, though the bulk of them seem to disregard them entirely. One of these is the burning every morning of certain sheets of brownish paper, upon one side of which is a surface of gold, a similar embellishment of silver being on the other side. Then there are tapers, long slender reed like affairs, which smolder slowly, whose destruction by fire is supposed to have an especially satisfactory effect upon the deity which presides over Mongolian destinies.2
Notwithstanding the demands made upon their time by the special requirements of the season, a large proportion of the almond-eyed laundrymen yesterday devoted themselves to putting a slimy gloss upon the bosoms and cuffs of American gentlemen's linen, excusing themselves for so doing by urging that their patrons were able to crowd their New-Year's visiting into one day, and hence had a right to expect them to do the same.
During the remainder of this week the fun will be kept up in a quiet way, but next Sunday it is intended to have a mighty gathering of Celestials. There is to be a dinner with Chinese delicacies intermingling on the same board with turkey, roast beef, wine, lager beer and other American institutions, and after the good things have been disposed of there are to be speech-making, music, card-playing (Bill Nye excluded), and other forms of jollity and enjoyment. The only trouble is that when a Chinaman is asked where the entertainment is to come off, his face brightens up with an Ah Sin smile, and he claims that he does not know anything further about it, with an expression of innocence that is most surprising.3
At the same time he is acquainted with the full particulars but, being given to exclusiveness, he feigns ignorance so as to preclude the possible presence of a newspaper man. This banquet will wind up the New Year's enjoyments of Chicago's Chinese population.
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