For billions of people across Asia and communities of diaspora across the globe, this weekend marks the start of celebrations to celebrate The Lunar New Year, a two-week celebration that marks the end of the Zodiac year of the Tiger and the inauguration of this year as Year of the Rabbit (or Cat, if it is in Vietnam). Businesses can slow down or even stopped for a period of time as people are reunited with relatives. The majority of Chinese who work as migrant workers view the holiday as their final opportunity to go back to their home country for the remainder of the year. The roots of this holiday lie into tradition, and it is a time to celebrate the bond of family.
Daniel Lee Lih Wei is a resident of China-Malaysia who has reached the age of 55, is in a managerial job at Sunway University’s research. “I want my children to comprehend and experience the diversified and affluent culture and history we have as well as how this can be conveyed into their own encounters all through their life,” he elucidates. The goal is to give their children the same kind of attention as I was able to have when it came to food, family, reflecting and looking forward.
Lee Lih Wei is a reminder of the days of his childhood, is insistent that the children of his, aged 4 , and 1, must have the same primary goal. They are eager to have fun with firecrackers and enjoy cookies and watching traditional lion dances. This elaborate show, decorated in vibrant costumes, are commonplace throughout the country in the months leading up to the beginning of the new year, with the intention of bringing prosperous luck and good fortune. Lee Lih Wei decided to spend a week at home to allow his family members to fully enjoy the celebrations. Every member of the family will be wearing coordinating red shades as they get together with friends and family for the two-day event.
Wen Xu couldn’t return home to her Anhui hometown in the past due to Covid restrictions. The 57-year-old can make the trip from Hong Kong, where she has recently relocated into the role of a reporter. The move was not possible just two months ago. However, Xu can now travel into the Lunar New Year with the many others who have left China. Lee Lih Wei attests that technological advancements have led to visiting his wife’s family to eat lunch, as well as his family members for dinner.
Xu could not contain her excitement when she got the opportunity to go home. She shared that her aunt as well as her uncle and cousin will be coming from towns around to mark New Year’s Eve. They’ll enjoy an old-fashioned family dinner of steaming pork, rice flour, and bone broth. This was going to be an entire week of relaxation including reading and getting with her Canadian cousin. In addition, Xu intended to record her mom while cooking the classic Chinese diet, known as ejiao. Growing up in the same household, Xu and her cousin looked forward to the impending reunion.
Xu’s previous Year of the Tiger saw her prosper professionally, but she was not able to make it work in her relationships. To celebrate an event known as the Lunar New Year, Xu and her sister gathered together to partake in the customary dinner and then raced up the stairs to tally the funds within the envelopes of red given by their elder relatives to mark the occasion with traditional gifts. They continue to receive the red packet cash, even though they are both older. They are also afflicted by sorrow this year, Xu declares, because her grandfather must remain isolated within his room because he is suffering from Covidand not joining them for dinner. The hope she has is that the next year will provide her with an opportunity for establishing a friendship.
As a conclusion, the entire week was filled with excursions down memory lane and conversations of imagining the future both Xu and her family. This pandemic didn’t stop them from celebrating their traditional family reunion. They were able to look at their history and envision what was coming. A traditional dish consisting of bones and rice flour brought back memories of their culinary tradition while Xu’s idea to capture her mother’s voice made it possible to keep an important element of their tradition alive for generations to come. For the most part, despite the external pressures the joy of this period was found in reconnecting with family, old and new.