I reckon for many of you, the Chinese New Year (CNY) flame is already burning. Everyone seems to be running around getting new clothes, changing new money (recycled by BN this year), buying/baking cookies, buying mandarin oranges, stocking up on raw food and planning the reunion dinner.
I have to admit, celebrations have always been rather low key in my family. My parents have never been consistent with the new clothes rule. I don't remember having abundance of cookies in the house. My mum would only get what was needed to give to the elders. Reunion dinner was the only constant hoo-ha. 3-4 women would be in the kitchen, my mum included, preparing the 2 table feast. Us kids would then have to clean up afterwards. Usually my sis and I would be the ones left behind to wash up all the dishes.
Only when I grew up and earned my own moolah did I start buying cookies for CNY. But that was all I did. No new clothes, no changing new money.
Now that I am married and with kids, I still find there is no real need for new clothes and new notes. Hubby begs to differ. So, the kids have new clothes. Hubby will always have a new shirt and I try to have at least one new piece of clothing. And hubby changes new notes not only for ourself but for his parents and his brothers as well.
For me, since young, the only thing I equate CNY to is TRAVEL. Hubby being a KLnite never did need to travel. So he bears with my CNY travel plans and I bear with his CNY new-ness. And we both bear with $$ of bickies and raw food and eating out and other requirements that make CNY memorable for the kids.
So, upon reflection, I wonder if the hoo ha of the celebration is such an important memory for the kids. When we got Christopher's new shirt, we just asked him which colour he wanted and I did not emphasize the fact that CNY required new clothes. It didn't seem important to me.
Would travel be the only thing the kids would remember of CNY? Would the gathering of family be what they equate CNY with? And in the back of it all, of course, the red covered tins of goodies forever available on the table.
And if tradition continues, my kids will also have the memory of the CNY annual dinner with their fellow cell mates.
It would be nice that they have strong memories of CNY eating and catching up with the family - both blood and spiritual. It would be nice that even without decorations and new clothes, my kids would look forward to CNY for the warmth of family ties renewed.