Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Home on Lunar New Year's day

We did not go anywhere for the New Year, but watched tv and ate all day with the kids in the past few days instead.  I remember we usually visited the relatives and friends on the first and second day of the Lunar New Year.  People do not make any visits on the third day, and the fourth day is the day merchants usually start to run their routine business. The stores and streets were quieter because most of the stores are closed and merchants do not do business during the New Year days until the fourth day of the New Year.  Schools would close for the fifteen days of celebration of the Lunar New Year.

We kids were very happy during the Chinese New Year since this was the only time we would not have homework from school.  I went to a year round school and we always had homework whenever we had  long school breaks.  We loved Chinese New Year break because we never needed to look at our text books and stayed up as long as we wanted. Most of all, we got to eat whatever sweet snacks we wanted from the table and never got scolded from our parents. During these days, the movie theater was one of the most busiest places. Most families would take their kids to the movies because this was the most relaxing time since most Chinese worked all year long even on the weekends. Kids would play with fire crackers and games on the street. Here in the America, I tried showing the traditions to my kids through the food I made and stories I told them so that they could understand some of the traditions of the Chinese culture.

Red is the color for good luck. When friends and relatives visit us with bag of gifts, a red envelope, some oranges and tangerines are also included.  Red envelopes were also given to the kids.This is a tray of sweet snacks we usually served to friends and relatives with a pot of fresh brewed tea. My little daughter loves to put all the New Year snacks in this Chinese serving box that also plays music when you turn it on:

Traditional snacks like peanuts, candies, melon seeds, cookies.
We also served other baked goods along with a traditional sweet steamed glutinous rice cake (Nian Gao).  Nian Gao is a must have in Chinese New Year. I usually bought it from the store instead of making it myself.  My older daughter baked these delicious cupcakes: Blueberries,Orange and Mini cupcakes.
I bought these flowers from the Flower fair to decorate the house:

Close up view of the flower and little hanging decorative item on the mirror (these are new):
I had volunteered at my daughters' schools when they were little kids.  I often got invited to speak to the class about Chinese culture at their class during multi-cultural week and Chinese New Year.  This is the lantern I learned to make from my friend and was able to teach the kids how to make it with red envelopes.  I taught my younger daughter this year since I have many left over envlopes from the previous years:
I am happy to be part of a culture that is very family oriented and was able to share what I know with the kids about Chinese culture. They are also very happy to learn about how I spent my childhood during the Chinese New Year. I am glad the kids had no school and was able to share and learn what I do at home fully during this Chinese New Year.  I hope to give them as good of  a childhood memory as much as I have of Chinese New Year.

No comments:

Post a Comment