While the rest of the world settles down into the year after the winter holidays, here in Asia, we await the arrival of the Spring Festival. Commonly referred to as Chinese New Year, it is the most important celebration in the Lunar calendar, beginning on the first day of the first month of the year and lasts for 15 days – it’s pretty much like Christmas!
In the weeks before the arrival of the Chinese New Year, families are usually busy with preparations, beginning with the annual spring cleaning as well as buying new clothing, food and decorations to symbolize abundance and prosperity in the year ahead. As Mum always says, a thorough cleaning is essential to get rid of any ill-fortune lingering in the house so that good luck will come in the new year.
Although traditions differ in different parts of Asia, Chinese New Year will always be a time of thanksgiving and family reunion. On the eve of the holiday, my family will gather for a sumptuous meal, known as the reunion dinner. This will always remain my favourite Chinese New Year tradition as it symbolizes family togetherness. On this night, children are encouraged to stay up to welcome the arrival of the new year. As tradition goes, this will increase the longevity of their parents.
The first few days of the Chinese New Year holiday are usually reserved for visiting our elders and spending time with relatives, some of whom we only get to see once a year! A pair of Mandarin oranges – signifying good fortune – is a must-have during these visits. The other highlight of this celebration includes receiving red packets filled with money given by the married and elders for good luck!
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