Occupation: Retired professor
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/17
Primary Language: Chinese
Other Language(s): Japanese
The informant is my grandmother from Taiwan, her hobbies are going to church and cooking. She says because Chinese tradition is very custom and done in certain ways it is weird to “stray” off on doing certain traditions. However, our family has done many of the same traditions, except starting from my great-grandparents time (4 generations), we had done some of these Lunar New Year traditions differently.
When I was growing up we would prepare a separate meal for these specific mice. Although we do not do it anymore because our house is clean and there are no mice around, it was very common during my time when we grew up. The specific mice we fed were called 錢鼠 (Qian Shu). Because their name had money in their names, we would hope that after feeding these mice, we would become prosperous.
The mice are called Asian house shrew/money shrew in english. This was interesting because even my father did not know or believe that these mice were actually real. My grandmother had to convince my father that they actually existed, but they are not seen anymore. This came as a surprise to me, because during this time my grandparents were under Japanese rule and that these traditions did not come from them, but they were extremely poor during that time. Feeding random mice for good luck seems very weird for me, especially since they did not have a lot of food, to begin with. However, seeing as it all panned out well, I guess feeding the mice did help!