What does Chinese New Year mean to you? Or should I say what do you think of when I mention Chinese New Year? I think to many, Chinese New Year reminds them of some of the obvious, like lots of feasting and snacking on goodies, visiting relatives and collecting ang pows as well as reunion dinners and ‘lo-heing’.
Oddly, my Chinese New Years have never quite been about the above things except for reunion dinner which I absolutely love (because my mum was a fantastic cook and my sister has inherited her genes). But I don’t quite do or like to do most of the obvious CNY stuff.
Rather CNY reminds me of the little family traditions that my mum used to insist we follow as kids.
Traditions like having a new set of PJs to wear on CNY eve or my mum forcing us to stay awake past midnight because apparently the later you stay up, the longer your parents live. Nowadays we will be chasing our kids off to bed, the earlier they sleep, the longer I feel I will live. :p
CNY also reminds me of the whole family crowding around the TV on CNY eve and watching the countdown show. The evening was spent with me translating the fortune predictions for the various zodiacs in our family because the geomancer’s mandarin was too ‘chim’ for my mum.
CNY is just one of many occasions/ festivals that remind me of my mum.
CNY is one of many occasions where I wish I could turn to my mum to ask if I am doing things right with my kids.
As a mother, it is also one of those occasions that is often bittersweet because I wished I could share my own experiences as a mother with her and ‘compare notes’.
Remembering my mum and her little CNY traditions is also one of the reasons why I am trying to establish my own little CNY family traditions that my kids can hopefully look back on one day. Even if some of these little CNY traditions may deviate from the norm or ‘obligation’/ expectations of others. Us kids were the only things that mattered to my mum and so I suppose if I had the chance to turn to my mum today and ask her for her opinion on the traditions I’m thinking of setting..I think I know what answer I will get.
I know I have big shoes to fill and as I search for my footing as a mother this CNY and the CNYs to come, I hope I do my mum proud. 🙂