Rosanna, Alex, can you share with our readers how the Lunar New Year is celebrated and some of the key activities and events that define the celebrations?
“For most Chinese families, especially those in China, Lunar New Year is a festive occasion celebrated for over half a month. Leading up to the holiday, families engage in activities like house cleaning, shopping, and decorating their homes. On New Year's Eve, a significant dinner brings all family members together. The following day, it's a tradition for married family members to gift red envelopes containing money to the younger, unmarried ones,” Rosanna said.
“These symbolic envelopes, filled with good wishes and blessings, are offered to those who are yet to embark on the journey of marriage, symbolising not only good luck but also prosperity, good health, and blessings for the future,” adds Alex.
Now, what are some traditional dishes and foods typically prepared and enjoyed during the Lunar New Year?
Rosanna said: "The holiday boasts a variety of dishes, each carrying its own symbolism. Longevity is represented by noodles, wealth by dumplings, success by mandarin oranges, and fortune by fish. One of my personal favourites is 'tangyuan,' glutinous rice balls symbolizing family reunion.”
“My favourite dish is the Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao), a symbol of growth and prosperity," commented Alex. “Crafted from glutinous rice flour and often sweetened, it takes on various textures, either steamed to a soft consistency or pan-fried for a delightful crispiness. The name 'nian gao' carries a dual meaning, representing both the year and the aspiration for elevated success. Families share this treat, not just for its delicious taste, but also to reinforce unity and goodwill. As you enjoy a slice, you partake in a tradition that connects generations, embodying the hope for a prosperous and elevated new year.”
It all sounds delicious. Can you both share a memorable personal experience or story related to celebrating the Lunar New Year?
“One of my most cherished Lunar New Year memories revolves around my expansive family, spanning over 60 members across four generations,” shared Alex. “Our beloved tradition brought us together on a boat, creating a unique and joyous celebration. The day was marked by lively activities, with the sizzle of barbecues filling the air and the excitement of friendly gambling adding an extra layer of thrill. This annual gathering, set against the backdrop of the Lunar New Year, symbolised not only the richness of our family bonds but also the joy derived from coming together to welcome a new beginning.”
"My favourite part of Lunar New Year is the family gatherings and visiting relatives with gift baskets, exchanging red envelopes. When I was younger, receiving hundreds of dollars felt like a significant amount, bringing immense joy as a little kid,” Rosanna said.
That sounds amazing – I would definitely like to celebrate with you! Lastly, what does the Lunar New Year mean to you?
“Lunar New Year holds special significance for me as it symbolises the beginning of a new year, a time to honour our ancestors, and most importantly, to be with family. It's a celebration of tradition, love, and new beginnings,” said Rosanna.
“It’s the same for me,” added Alex. “The Lunar New Year is not only a celebration, but a moment to unload the burden of work, allowing for a mental refresh in preparation for the promising year ahead. Beyond the familial connection, it's also a time to reconnect with friends, catching up on life's journeys, and extending warm wishes for their well-being and success in the upcoming year.”
We wish you all happy Lunar New Year!