Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐! 恭喜发财! ( Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái! )
Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is one of the most celebrated festivals in the Chinese culture. This is the time where family reunions take place, as well as the visiting of relatives and friends. It is a time where ties between family and friends play a significant role.
This year, I will be celebrating Chinese New Year away from home. Hence, the annual reunion dinner with my family went on without me, and so did the routine visiting of houses where I would normally obtain some lucky red packets known as Hóng bāo (红包). Nevertheless, my first Chinese New Year away from home was still a memorable one. Why? Well, this blog post is all about the events that took place over the course of the Chinese New Year.
I was not a lone ranger when it came to celebrating Chinese New Year away from my family. My peers who are going through the same transition journey as me, from the University of Southampton Malaysia Campus (UoSM) to the main campus in the U.K., shared the same experience. We wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year, and hence the idea of having a potluck gathering on Chinese New Year Eve was conceived.
Everyone was very enthusiastic about the potluck gathering and had contributed to the table. There were dumplings, siu yok, char siu, curry chicken, butter chicken, turnip cakes and the list goes on. The highlight of the event was the yee sang ( 魚生 ) prepared by Sean, Chung Kwan and Khei Yinn. Kudos to this trio for making the yee sang tossing possible!
Here’s a clip of what went down during the Yee Sang tossing ceremony.
The evening was indeed memorable as we all gathered around good food and great company with a few games involving cards and mah-jong tiles.
The Malaysian Society Association Southampton (MSA) held a Chinese New Year celebration too! It was conducted on a Saturday evening and was open to all Malaysians. I remember walking into the lecture hall and what caught my attention was the whiteboard. It was decorated with red lanterns, red packets and pink fans. All fit for the celebration of Chinese New Year!
The highlight of the MSA’s Chinese New Year celebration was the unexpected lion dance.
My last Chinese New Year celebration for this year ended with a mini reunion dinner with my uncle from Nottingham. It was a 5 hour journey by train but it was worth the trip. I got to spend some time with my cousins and had a calm dinner with 3 other families who came around for dinner and celebrations.
My first time celebrating Chinese New Year away from home was a joyful one. With the bunch of friends that I have, new or old, I can proudly say I have found myself a 2nd family here.
P.S. Here’s a random doodle that I did for Chinese New Year.