When you are reading this, we are already into the Chinese New Year celebration period. So, let me greet all the readers with “Gung Hay Fat Choy”!
在农历新年的前15天中，从传统到食物，不同地区的中国人庆祝新年的方式各有不同。本文将分享我1960年代童年时期的春节经历。当时我在香港生活 - 在我离开家人前往加拿大之前。
Different geographic regions in China have many variations on the traditions, methods, and foods consumed during the Chinese New Year celebrations covering the first half month of the Lunar New Year. I will now share my experiences from my childhood in the 1960's while living in Hong Kong – the period before I left with my family to come to Canada.
I was born into a very structured family in Hong Kong with four generations living together under the same roof. This means that there are family rules and regulations enforced and followed at every turn. In fact, my family was selected recently as one of the ten most influential families in Hong Kong over the last century by a television program.
About a week before New Year's day, my grandmother will lead a team of family females to make New Year snacks for anticipated visitors and offerings to ancestors. The main items are Deep-fried dumplings, Sesame balls, Glutinous Rice cakes, and Turnip cakes. Success in this activity (making the dough rise properly) symbolizes a good and prosperous year ahead.
On the 28th of December under the Lunar Calendar, cleaning is mandatory around all the dwellings both inside and out. To facilitate this, they created a Cantonese limerick for it - “On the 28 th of December, time to clean up” . Back then, there was even a government decree to sweep and wash all common areas and stairways in all the buildings throughout the colony on that day.
New Year's eve dinner is a big event. All household members working near and far must come home to dinner, no exceptions. The best foods are served in the most elaborate manners. This is a chance for everyone to discuss and summarize this year's achievements and to make resolutions and goals for the coming year.
After dinner, I put on my new shoes and would go to the “temporary” night markets specially constructed for the New Year at Victoria Park with my relatives. We would buy flowers and plants for display at the house over the New Year period. These included Narcissus水仙花, Gladiolus, Peach blossom branches, Pussy Willow twigs, and Potted Tangerines.
To be continued next Saturday.
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