The Travelling Pixie in London
Year of the Ram
Today is the seventh Day into Chinese New Year, we call it 人日 – meaning everyone’s birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL OF YOU!
I was born in the year of the Ram – and yes that means I’m soon to be 24.
Having been in the UK for the sixth year now, I have missed out on six years of spending Chinese New Year with my family in Hong Kong.
年三十晚 – New Year’s Eve symbolises the end of the year and the reunion of the Family. It is an important day where family and even extended family members would usually travel back home from different cities in China to have a New Year’s Eve dinner together with the elders in the family. The last dish of the night would be sweet soup with dumplings, symbolising 團圓 – reunion. After all the amazing food, we would receive 壓歲錢 (pocket money) sealed in a red packet from our elders, to sleep with under our pillow, symbolising the start to a new year and their blessings to us.
After dining out with the elders we would all go back home and start the preparations to welcome the arrival of a New Year. Sitting round the table with my mum and dad, inserting crisp new money into Red Packets, preparing the box full of sweets for visitors when they come to 拜年 – visit during Chinese New Year. I’ve missed this harmonious atmosphere, and I’ve been longing to go back to spend Chinese New Year with every single member of my family – but sadly, that’s at least another year.
On the First New Year Day 大年初一, we all wake up – remember to NOT wash our hair, we won’t want to wash all the good luck away right?! wear our new clothes – you must wear new clothes on the first day of new year! and go to our grandparent’s house again to 拜年 – Chinese New Year greetings.
With 拜年, we send our Chinese New Year greetings and blessings to our elders, and they give us red packets. Then we would all sit round the table and have our first New Year meal together, uncles, aunts and cousins, all reunited together. I have to say, my Grandma’s cooking is the best I’ve ever had in my life. Another reason why I look forward to Chinese New Year is because of the simple dishes she prepares – they’re simple, but tastes wondrous.
Knowing that my family must be having a delightful Chinese New Year in Hong Kong makes me feel the homesickness even more so than usual. So this year, we decided to make our own Chinese New Year home cooked meal. We went to China Town in Leicester Square and bought some prawns, pork and veg – not alot but definitely enough for 3 people. We went home and started the preparation for our Chinese New Year dinner.
We steamed the prawns, fried the pork and veg and cooked rice. It wasn’t much, but it was one of the best home-cooked meals I’ve had in ages. I could finally feel some of the joyous Chinese New Year atmosphere even though I’m 6000 miles away from home. :)