When I was young, CNY was the ultimate festive period I look forward to year after year. Because my late grandparents resided at my place, the entire extended family comes to my place to 拜年 (pronounced ‘Bai Nian’ – Chinese for ‘Wishing somebody a Happy Chinese New Year). I love gatherings. I totally love it. I love the feasting, the CNY movie watching, the Black Jack playing (…Yes! Hahaha), the 紅包 (pronounced ‘Hong Bao’ – Chinese for ‘Red Packet’, monetary blessing presented by elders and married people to children and singles for ‘good luck’ and blessing) receiving and just having fun with all my cousins.
Today, much has changed. Many of us ‘young ones’ are no longer young as we once were.
The matriarch and patriarch of the family may no longer be, but we continue to come together in celebration of how we were placed (by God) in the same family out of so many other families out there.
Some of us may be doing better than our elders, even driving fast cars and carrying expensive watches. But we continue to honor our elders for all the outings, wanton mees and wise council they have given us.
The dollar bills in our red packets may no longer entice us as they did when we had little in our pockets. But the well wishes behind each red packet is worth its weight in gold.
Many of us no longer gamble (because we are Christians!) but we continue to have wholesome bonding.
Lastly, the activities that we enjoy, be it having sumptuous steamboat, playing mahjong or watching a CNY movie, we continue to participate in them even though we have outside friends and activities to indulge with/in, because by doing so we contribute to the unity that has kept the family unit strong through the years.
Some may say that CNY is lackluster in comparison to previous years. It may be so. But CNY is still my favorite period of the year. By keeping traditions, we keep CNY alive in our families and in our hearts.