#28ChineseMemories Day 18: Chinese New Year

My parents with my uncle's wife and in-laws, January 2006.
My parents with my uncle’s wife and in-laws, January 2006.

My parents have been reminding me the past couple of weeks about eating chicken these next three days for Chinese New Year: for good luck and prosperity, they tell me.

Even though I have celebrated Chinese New Year all my life, there are still some traditions and rituals I am unsure of. From my earliest memories of the holiday, I only recall wearing the color red, eating lots of delicious food, and receiving red pocket money. However, as it is a holiday, I always remember the happiness and joy that we have, spending the time with family and enjoying delicious food together.

I know that on New Year’s Eve, my parents put out incense to our ancestor altar and prepare food for the altar as well; technically, tomorrow February 19th is the start of Chinese New Year, but since China is hours ahead, we can already start celebrating tonight.

I haven’t spent Chinese New Year with my parents and siblings in awhile (looking back at my photo collection, looks like I haven’t spent CNY with family since 2006!); the alternative I have for celebrating the holiday has been to attend Chinese New Year dinners around town, generally banquet fundraisers thrown by organizations involved in the Chinese/Chinese-American community. Generally, back in Virginia, my dad participates in a few Chinese New Year banquet shows, doing kung fu demonstrations with his students. I can always tell that my dad is joyful after his performances since he enjoys kung fu and being in the spotlight.

Happy New Year to you all and may the Year of the Sheep bring you great prosperity! Gung Hay Fat Choi!