Today is the eve of Chinese New Year…of the year of Dragon. To me, every year is a good year, every new year is the beginning of a great new chapter.
Today is the day when family members from all over come together at their parents home, to enjoy a sumptuous Reunion Dinner. In my case, as a married woman, I must return to my husband’s family home for the Reunion Dinner. I shall only go back to my parents’ on the second day of Chinese New Year. This is a traditional practice, of course. Some modern families do not follow such practice anymore. It is very much depending on the elders in the family or both families.
Back to Reunion Dinner. You can hear laughter and cheers through the windows of each household, celebrating this happy occasion. Right after dinner, married people would distribute “ang pow” (or called red packet/envelope. These envelopes, which contain money, are perceived as extremely auspicious when given as a gift) to family members.
Besides tucking delicious food into our stomachs, we also catch up on one another’s life events. Some adults and children will be playing firecrackers, whilst some choose other light entertainment like playing cards. Firecrackers and fireworks will reach highest note at midnight. That’s when you can hear continuous loud bangs throughout the town and the dark sky lighted up by colorful fireworks. This can go on for 15 to 30 minutes long!
One thing I learnt when I got married is that, children, usually adult children would stay up past midnight. This practice is called “shou sui” meaning children who “shou sui” will increase the longevity of the parents. I don’t bother to check the fact but just do as they do…if it is good for them, it’s good for me!
This evening, we do our house cleaning as come midnight, being the New Year, it is believed that we cannot sweep the floor, or do all sorts of sweeping or brushing. On New Year’s Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year’s Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. In our families, we do not question the taboo or superstition, just go with the flow out of respect for the elders.
Well, I have to make this shorter than usual. It’s the Eve of Chinese New Year. Have to get back to my duties….
Here’s wishing everyone a new year blessed with continuous good health, fortune and happiness! Gong Xi, Gong Xi, Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!
~ Alice N.