I was bounding down the stairs this morning when I bumped into my aunt. Evidently, she had been waiting patiently for me to come down. Her first words: "What time is Li Chun 立春 this year?"
"Why do you want to know so early?" I asked back. "It's still more than three weeks away."
I flipped it open to the page on Year 2013. Couldn't find the date. Then I realised that Li Chun, the Coming of Spring, for 2013 was on the preceding page (on Year 2012). The book was arranged according to the Chinese lunar months and as this year's Li Chun will fall even before the first day of the new lunar calendar, the day wouldn't show on the Year 2013 page. So there it was, finally, Li Chun falling on 4 Feb 2013 which corresponds with the 24th day of the 12th lunar month. The exact time of Li Chun will be 00:15 on that day, that is, 15 minutes past midnight.
So I came downstairs again to let my aunt know. Her second request: the next time I go over to the island, she wanted me to go to her regular joss stick shop to pick up several pieces of the red paper with the Chinese character Chun 春 to stick on the family rice bucket when the day comes rolling by. I wouldn't dare ask her why she needed so many pieces when one would do. I can anticipate her answer: "to keep, lah, it won't spoil one." Irrefutable logic.
Li Chun, 2012
Li Chun, 2011
Li Chun, 2010
Li Chun, 2009
Li Chun, 2008
Li Chun, 2007