Today in the US it’s Black Friday, a day of frenetic shopping that officially kicks off the Christmas season. Although I drove to downtown Chicago today, it wasn’t to shop. I went out to brunch with my kids, my mom, and an old friend.
When we returned to my mom’s apartment, she gave each of her grandchildren (my three kids and my brother’s daughter) a lacquer owl from her recent trip to Myanmar, or Burma.
My mom told us that the owl is a good luck symbol in Myanmar, and that most people display a little owl in their homes. The kids loved their owls, and as I type, my three year old is clutching onto his while he sleeps.
Then the fun started. My mom took out this fabric and gave it to me. She told me it’s a longyi, but thanks to a book I read to my kids (M is for Myanmar by Elizabeth Rush and Khin Maung Myint, ThingsAsian Press, 2011), I already knew that.
Mine is a long piece of cloth with two small pieces of fabric sewn onto the top of each side. I wrapped it around my waist a couple times and tied it together. It was 0C or 32F today, thus the sweater.
My mom showed me her longyi, which looked like a tube of fabric. That’s the traditional way of making them. The person steps into the fabric and wraps it around his/her waist (both men and women wear longyis) and fastens it by tucking part of the fabric into the waist.
The style reminds me of a skirt I wore when I was in my early twenties. I bought some black and gold silk fabric in Phnom Penh and had it tailored into a skirt in Chiang Mai, all back in the summer of 1991. The guy in the photo is my brother.
And as for Black Friday, I’ve completed most of my shopping. It’s a good thing my kids like books.