I'm so looking forward to Chinese New Year! Can you believe it, it's only a few more weeks away? When I was little, my mom would take weeks to prepare for the Chinese New Year celebration. From baking all the yummy Chinese New Year cookies to loading up the house with tons of treats for our guests who would be visiting us during the Chinese New Year day. I was born and raised in Singapore by the way.
My first attempt at making Singaporeans favorite CNY cookies - Pineapple Tart.
It's a tradition to get new stuff especially clothes and shoes for the New Year! It's auspicious to wear new clothes and shoes especially in red color according to my mom, my grandmother, great grandmother and many before them. We would spend days spring cleaning the house... to drive away all bad luck and evils.
As a child, reunion dinner was my favorite part of Chinese New Year apart from getting new clothes and shoes. I enjoyed watching my mom as she happily slaving away in the kitchen for two whole days just to prepare for the reunion diiner. And later she would slave away once again in the kitchen washing the dishes and tidying up the house getting ready for guests the next day.
This is a popular traditional raw fish dish during CNY in Singapore. Image source: http://melicacy.com/?p=7834
The atmosphere was filled with Chinese New Year spirit. You could feel it everywhere you went. The smell of the famous Singapore bbq pork everywhere was a constant reminder that New Year was just around the corner! Shops would be filled with all kind of new year novelties tempting you to buy a thing or two.
Chinese New Year Night Market in Singapore. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year
When the day finally arrived, my mom would expect us to dress up, look nice and be at our best behaviors. I always felt like a bride... as if it was my wedding day. Holding two mandrain oranges with both hands, we would greet our elders with asuspicious new year greetings or phrases and they would give us a red packet (with money inside) in returns. Love this tradition! Best part was taking the money out of the red packet and counting the money at the end of the day.
That's my favorite childhood memory of Chinese New Year.
Now I'm a mother, raising two children here in the states. Chinese New Year takes on a new meaning. We no longer practice all those tradions like my mother used to. My kids are usually at school on the first day of Chinese New Year and we are at work. The air no longer smell of the famous bbq pork. There is no Chinese New Year music and decor everywhere I go. However, that never stops me from celebrating it and keeping whatever part of the tradition I can keep. I insist my kids say auspicious new year greetings to me on the first day of new year even though they sound weird speaking Chinese. I give them a red packet each filled with money.
Although my kids will never have the same Chinese New Year experience as I did when I was a child, we try to create new tradition that will work for us. One of our favorites is going to China Buffet to have dinner and watch lion dance! We try to do it every year. To me it's not just about tradition. It's about creating many wonderful memories that associate with their heritage and tradition... something they can connect with.
What about you? Share with us here your favorite childhood memory of your Chinese New Year back home. And tell us how you and your family are celebrating Chinese New Year this year. You are welcome to send us an article if you'd wish to publish it in the blog. We would love to hear from you!