Happy Chinese New Year/ 新年快樂!
A new year is upon us, at least in the Eastern part of the world. Today’s the day when countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore, and those who are of such descent celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year. Usually, it consists of celebrations that last for 15 days, with plenty of food, fun, and fireworks for family and friends to enjoy (alliterations, ftw!).
Strange as it’s to say, I haven’t properly celebrated Chinese New Year in these last four years. This is because I’ve been abroad in Europe for work, and so I’m far apart from my family to celebrate it. Likewise, I’m not part of any Chinese community here in France (rare as they are, too), which makes it a bit difficult to find certain foods and celebrations out there.
**Funny enough, I was getting groceries last week, and I came across the “Sale” section of the market where it advertised for Chinese New Year-related products. I usually am skeptical of Asian-based products in Europe, but curiosity got the best of me, so I checked it out. Turned out much of the sale items were faux-Chinese items like instant noodles, soy sauce, Taiwanese beer, etc. Definitely couldn’t find red envelopes or tang yuan (汤圆) anywhere in the store! You tried, France, you tried…**
That said, Chinese New Year has been a low-key affair for some time– I’ve usually spent it as any other day in the year, but just without the delicious Chinese feast or red envelopes to give out. The most I do is message my family back in LA, and I vicariously live through their photos of their festival meals via chat. Nothing much else to it, though.
Yes, I do feel rather sad that I’ve missed out on celebrating the Lunar New Year these past few years. But it’s not to say that I’m completely devastating that I can’t do so– rather, it’s bittersweet, as it does bring back lots of nostalgia from my childhood years celebrating back home with my family. As I’m getting older, I’ve come to really appreciate my Chinese heritage, and I do want to keep the traditions alive in myself, especially as someone who’s grown up in the U.S. and now lives in France. Whether it’s speaking Mandarin to my parents or seeking out Chinese food abroad (and hopefully, they’re good), I hope to continue taking these small, but important steps into keeping my heritage with me.
As for this year’s Lunar New Year, I happen have the day off from work (not because of the holiday itself, but I don’t work Tuesdays). Of course, I still have work to do at home, but aside from that, I expect a relaxed day by myself. I’ll wish my family a happy new year via messaging, and that’s about it. Even if there’s nothing much to it, I’m acknowledging the special day and appreciating what it means to my childhood and heritage.
Wishing you wonderful festivities, and otherwise, have a good day. 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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