One is quieter, gentler, more subdued with just a touch of sparkle and glamour around her. While the other is bold, brazen and brassy with a whole lot of flash. One has silent nights with perfectly decorated trees full of tinsel and gold, with tables full of brandied puddings and roasted turkeys galore. The other has raucous days with far flung relations reunited at the table, with firecrackers popping and cymbals clashing.
Doesn't make one better than the other, just breathtakingly different and I love them both equally.
Do we even have to choose?
However dedicated fans of the classy Noel decry the innate tackiness of Spring, staring aghast at the jarring shades of gold and red that adorn her, shutting their ears to the discordant tunes that she adores.
Paul : Can't wait! The Spring Festival is coming!
Buddy #1 : Ugh, why do you like it?
Paul : Why wouldn't I!
Buddy #1 : If given the choice, I would extend Christmas and hold off the Spring Festival for as long as possible.
Buddy #2 : Everything about Christmas is calm and peaceful, while everything about the Spring Festival is noisy, intruding and tacky.
Buddy #1 : Like our relatives..thankfully. Most of us only see them once a bloody year!
Buddy #2 : Don't forget the horrible tok tok chiang music!
Paul : But all that blinding tackiness makes it unique!
Fine. I can see how gay men would find the family reunion synonymous with the Spring Festival extremely exasperating - especially with the endless probing questions from the nosy relatives. Over here, Christmas can be spent with a select group of like-minded friends but come the Spring Festival, there's simply no escaping blood relations.
But apart from that inevitable aggravation, surely the Spring Festival offers quite as many reasons to love it!
Tacky? I'll readily admit some of the tasteless bling associated with the Spring Festival 春节 - or Chinese New Year - is almost impossible to incorporate into any quietly tasteful home decor. Brilliant scarlets and flashy gold in the living room all year long immediately brings to mind the gaudy tastes of a nouveau riche Chinese towkay.
And surely no one can listen to the cacophonous Chinese New Year songs 24/7 throughout the year without turning certifiably insane.
But celebrated only once a year for fifteen days with all that crazy pomp and ceremony - isn't that the very reason we all love the Spring Festival? Plastering the entire house with auspiciously red paper cuttings? Having the entire rambunctious family gathering at one table to duel over dumplings and meatballs? Waking up early the next morning to dress in our spanking new clothes to receive the cherished red packets?
Honestly I don't think I'd like the Spring Festival half as much if it were celebrated in hushed, subdued moderation. Replacing the dissonant Chinese New Year songs with a reverent carol would be nigh sacrilegious! Even right now I have the strident songs blaring from my laptop speakers - and will probably do so till the day itself.
The fact that it's loud, lively and lusty is why I love it! So bring on the cymbals, the drums and the crackers. In fact I think I'll have a party of my own to celebrate as well!