This chapter was written for the Hetalia Lunar Year Event, in which I compressed all the prompts into one chapter since I don't have the time or energy to write a full chapter every day. The prompts are Spring Cleaning, New Year's Market, Food, Decorating, Red, New Year's Myths, and Family; all of which are elements mentioned, if not directly in, this chapter just shy of 900 words. (A bit lackluster for a CNY chapter, but I kind of had writer's block for this chapter.)

Guangdong grumbled as they scrubbed at the dirtied windows of their house. They weren't much of a neat freak, nor were they particularly wary of tradition – they were, after all, the coolest, hippest Province! Take that, "China's Number One Province" Jiangsu! – but oh no, Guangxi had to look at them with those cute, watery, turquoise eyes; and then they were roped into a Southern reunion dinner with the rest of the "Deep South", as Ka Lee had put it…


Guangdong dropped their cloth into the wash-basin and opened the door, just before realizing that they hadn't put up the decorations yet. Great, there goes my reputation.

From the doorway gleamed those incriminating turquoise eyes that triggered their paranoia in the first place. "Ting-Ting!" Their twin rushed forth to wrap them in an embrace, smushing their chests against each other – hers ample, theirs… not so.

Guangdong looked over their twin's shoulder and noted on the eerily grinning figure at the door behind Guangxi, whose eyes, blue like the calm sea he was named for, kept on twinkling merrily. "Not a word about the nickname…"

Their twin was the only one who could refer to them by their human name. Ka Ting. So very feminine and–

Hainan wisely kept his mouth shut as he sipped on his coconut milk. He was still wearing a Hawaiian shirt, though thankfully ostentatiously red, to fit with the festive theme. Guangdong had had the sense to put on a red hoodie, while Guangxi was fully decked out in her scarlet Zhuang ethnic costume (minus the turban).

Guangdong hurried to the kitchen. Time was almost up.

Saam, yi, yat, sik fo. A perfect nin'goh – they sometimes wonder why they bother, after all these years. After all, the three of them had adapted to 'Chinese' culture over the two millennia they were alive, but they were brought up, in their earliest days, by their "barbarian" mother, and had been called that while growing up, even under China's household. None of them – especially Guangxi, in all of the South – were proper, snobby Han Chinese – the model citizens who spoke Mandarin and bent to the every whim of the north.

Eh, I'm being philosophical again, that's Sāan-Dūng's job, the stinkin' northerner.

"Stop talking to yourself, you gonna appear cray-zee-er than you already are."

With that, Guangdong's brain was immediately assaulted with the presence of the brother they despised the most.

"Hèung-Góng…" they trailed off on an almost threatening note.

"Gwǎng-Dūng, calm down a bit. Ka Lung, stop mocking our big sister," chastised Macau. At least we can count on Ka Lun to keep his brother in line…

They always did wonder what went wrong when raising Hong Kong. Then again, they only did do that by the loosest definition of 'raising', they hadn't even known of his existence prior to the Treaty of Nanking, probably because he only occupied an island of their space before the 1860 Treaty of Peking. The first hundred-or-so years of Hong Kong's life (which amounted to about a third of his lifespan already) were covered by… someone else.

Guangdong turned to see Macau placing pots of kumquats by the front door – "fresh from the nin siu si cheung," he explained later – and Hong Kong putting up hand-written calligraphy fai chun on the walls, thankfully not in places where they didn't look out of place. (They would always thank whatever deity in existence that Hong Kong's sense of style actually existed, unlike China's, since someone from the Sinosphere and prominent on the world stage had to.)

Right as Hong Kong was announcing that the Nin Sau wouldn't be arriving on my doorstep that night, the doorbell rang. Again.

"Ka tse!" Another figure came flying into Guangdong's arms, this time a brunette with a gold pan hairclip. "Man, I'm hella glad to see you!" she continued in English.

"Lee~! You, like, never get this excited to see me!" pouted the girl nigh-identical to the one that had just tackle-glomped Guangdong. The main difference was that she looked far less… Chinese than her twin, with wide blue eyes and dark blonde locks pinned back with a film reel hairclip, on the other side of her face.

"You're dusty, Mari," countered the former twin, picking up a basket of oranges from her sister's arms, "now help lay out the chopsticks."

Another several minutes had passed before the meal could finally be laid out on the dining table – a whole steamed fish, a whole crispy fried chicken, and six other dishes for the family to enjoy. Thankfully, they did prepare some vegan food – to Guangdong's annoyance – for SoCal, and the fact that Fujian wasn't killed and made into any of the dishes greatly reassured the more Westernized side of the family.

The night was a peaceful one for them. Yet farther out at sea, a fisherwoman would pull up back at her current home in Tai O, after moving years ago from Aberdeen. Though she remained mostly forgotten by the rest of Nanyue's brood, she didn't mind – she had lived like this for the better part of two thousand years, and she knew her siblings would be okay, in the end, even without her.

Just as she entered her home on stilts, her phone buzzed. A message had been received.

Hong Kong: Happy New Year ah, Tanka

TRANSLATIONS (rough Romanization used for Canto):

Saam, yi, yat - three, two, one

Sik fo - turn off the fire

Nin'goh - nian'gao in Mandarin, a traditional Chinese New Year dessert/foodstuff, puns on

Sāan-Dūng - Shandong

Hèung-Góng - Hong Kong

Gwǎng-Dūng - Guangdong

Treaty of Nanking - 1842 treaty between the British Empire and Qing China (long story), one of the conditions is to cede Hong Kong (Island) to the British Empire

Treaty of Peking - (year labelled because there was more than one) a follow-up to the Treaty of Nanking that ceded the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island (now no longer an island) to British Hong Kong

Nin siu si cheung - Lunar New Year Fair (I'm not sure where the fairs are in Macau or Guangdong, but we have plenty in HK, so I have faith that they have them as well)

Fai chun - traditional paper decoration with black/gold blessings written on them, used in the nin sau myth to scare off the beast (modern ones are mass-produced and printed and can even have cartoon characters in 3-D pop-up form, but traditional ones are hand-written with calligraphy)

Nin sau - nianshou in Mandarin, a (mythical) beast who comes every year to eat people and can be scared off by the colour red and loud noises (i.e. the sound of firecrackers)

Ka tse - (colloquial) big/older/elder sister

Dusty - (NorCal slang) undesirable

Guangdong Stereotypes: Cantonese, tech hub, great cuisine but will eat anything and everything (including Fujianese, which is based on an Internet joke)

Jiangsu really was given the title of "China's Number One Province" at one point.

Since Northern China is the centre and origin of contemporary Chinese culture, Southern Chinese regions (read: far from the Imperial capital), including Guangdong get all the disgraced officials. Also, unlike most regional tongues, Cantonese is still alive and kicking to this day, regardless of Hong Kong and Macau's influence. Heck, they even protested against more Mandarin influence in media... in the Mainland! That was in 2010, and even if teens these days tend to use more Mandarin... Cantonese is a resilient language, and its speakers are prideful - we won't let it die out anytime soon.

Guangdong goes by she/they pronouns in this 'verse.

The Huanan (South China) region - or as I prefer to term it, the Chinese Deep South - comprises of Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan (which used to be part of Guangdong until the 1980s), Hong Kong and Macau. NorCal is home to a significant portion of the Chinese diaspora (especially Cantonese diaspora), and for historical reasons (long story, may tell later), so she's counted as family as well. SoCal... is the odd one out in the family reunion, but... y'know, she's technically family too, so she's also here on that technicality.

Hong Kong Cantonese differs from Guangzhou Cantonese by having more 'lazy sounds' and code-mixing with English, and tends to sound more 'exaggerated'. Macau Cantonese is similar to HK Canto, but has local slang as well and occasional Portuguese/Macanese elements.

For the record, the Southern and Northern Chinese have different traditions when celebrating Chinese New Year, and since I live in the South, this is partially based on personal experience and real life.

Tanka is known by many names (such as the "boat people"), but in this 'verse, is the oldest of the Nanyue siblings and takes the most after their mother. She was also the one who brought up Hong Kong - Macau was more brought up by Portugal than by anyone else.

Of all the (Mainland) Provinces, I have the strongest connection with Guangdong. I've only visited the place twice in my life (once to Shenzhen, the other time to Guangzhou, to my family home), which is more than Beijing and Shanghai (both, once only, so far). The reason behind this is simple - my family originated from there, and as a Hongkonger, I have always been close with Cantonese culture. So... yeah, that's my special relationship with Guangdong, and I am proud to call myself Cantonese, behind the title of "Hongkonger".

For any more questions, please drop something in the ask box of the official Tumblr of this series at aph-a-provincial-life, and I will answer them for you.

Date of Writing: 24/1/2020

Date of Typing/Final Editing: 24/1/2020

Date of Publication: 25/1/2020 (i.e. First day of Chinese New Year)