Chinese New Year Memories of YCIS Parents

        Edited by: Roseline Yang, Community Liaison Officer

Has the celebration of the Chinese New Year changed from when your parents were little? Depending on which generation and also which part of the country you are from, people have different customs.  Let’s hear from our YCIS Pudong parents about what they recall and enjoyed from this festival when they were little.

What I remember from the celebration of Chinese New Year in my childhood is the firecrackers and all different types of firework. –Sammy Weng (Y5 Kyle)

I can recall how we were preparing the food with the neighbours: making sausages, frying the tofu, fish and piece of meat as well as making different shapes of nian gao (a sweet specialty for Chinese New Year).  All the women were busy from head to toe while children were playing nearby and eating different types of snacks. Children were also making lanterns and playing with firecrackers to celebrate the New Year.    Ruby Liao (Y2 – Elisa)

Common items for the New Year were: the Family dinner on New Year’s Eve, firecrackers, eating candies, wearing new clothes, offering presents to relatives, and receiving yasui qian or hong bao (one is money in red envelope for the children to grow up, the other one is for older people to wish health).   Melisa Wu吴海华  (Dora Y5)

In the countryside where my family comes from, everyone first has a big family dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve and then goes to buy fireworks.  In our area, fireworks do not stop from the evening all the way to the morning of New Year’s Day. Every single house lights fireworks and children can go and see each other’s fireworks! Before going to sleep, adults will put yasui qian (money) under the pillow of the children, in order to symbolize that children have grown up, that they are one year older. During Chinese New Year, children just need to meet adults and say “Happy New Year! Gong xi facai” and they will automatically receive a hong bao (red envelope). At the same time, adults visit each other: relatives and friends! -Cindy Wang王琴 (Xin Y2 and Aaron Y4)

 Dad’s Spring Festival Scroll

                        Written by Ning Diao (Lou Ling, Y2).

I was born in a small mountain town in Helongjiang Province in Northeast China. We did so many fun things to prepare for the celebration of the Chinese Year – making new clothing for kids, buying fire crackers, making foods, snacks, candies for the new year holiday, watching people rehearsing and playing yangko, a local folk dance in our neighborhood, to name a few.

Among all these preparation and celebration activities, my favorite one is to watch my dad write beautiful Chinese characters on Spring Festival Scrolls a couple of days before Spring Festival. Dad’s Spring Festival Scrolls were so unique and nice. Every year, Dad would write more sets than we needed and gave some to our neighbors. All these neighbors were expecting to receive my Dad’s Spring Festival Scrolls. To me, giving away Dad’s Spring Festival Scrolls seemed to be a part of our family’s new year celebration. I felt so proud and happy when I helped to deliver scrolls to neighbors!

Dad has not written scrolls for many years, since we grew up and lived in different cities. We seemed always in a hurry to prepare for spring festivals especially after we had our own families. To my siblings and me, it was more convenient to buy it from stores.

Recently, I became aware that I may never see my father writing Spring Festival Scrolls again, as his right hand can’t move well after a stroke last summer. And right now, I realize how much I missed the moment watching Dad bring beautiful Chinese characters one by one in black ink on the red paper with his magic long nice writing brush; listening to Dad explain the meaning of couplets; and seeing our neighbors’ happy faces when they accepted the scrolls. I will never forget the moments after putting the Spring Festival Scrolls on the gate together with Dad, we stood there together to appreciate each of the beautiful Chinese characters and the fresh look of the gate, reading the couplets with great expectation ofthe coming new year.