New Year best family time

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New Year feast . . . Enjoying a traditional Chinese New Year meal are Harry (11) and Sophie Zhang (6) with their father Kevin (right) and his friends Lisa and Ken Choie. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

For more than 2000 years, the way the Chinese New Year is celebrated has not changed, even for Kevin Zhang, who now lives in Gore.

He and his family held a traditional celebration at their home on Monday night to welcome in the year of the tiger, which started yesterday.

Mr Zhang said it was something he had done every year, even after leaving China in 2017.

Maintaining tradition was important, but it was not the only reason they celebrated the Chinese New Year.

“Everyone has got busy. Kids are busy studying and parents are busy with their job and we don’t have quite a lot of time to share the family time,” he said.

“This is the very special time where every family gets together. Like Christmas time, we don’t have any work during this period, so we just spend our family time together.

“We love it.”

There was a lot of preparation involved for the celebration, Mr Zhang said.

The house was decorated with traditional Chinese pictures in the morning.

“[In the] afternoon we prepare the dinner together with all the family members. Everyone needs to join us.

Dumplings were an important part of the celebration, he said.

“Eating the dumplings at the end of the year means you have a good future and good luck for you and your family.”

The outside of the dumpling represented life and protection while the filling represented happiness, fortune and luck.

A copper coin was even hidden in one of the dumplings.

Whoever found it would be blessed with the most luck for the year ahead, he said.

“We love the sweet and delicious food at the end of the year. It’s a good end and a good beginning.”

Bitter food was avoided during the celebration as it was believed to bring a year of sadness.

“We have a lot of activities too, like making wishes for other family members.”

It was also tradition for the oldest generation to give “pocket money” to the youngest generation.

“In China 20 people would get together at the big family table. The kids all get together and have lots of games.

“We will share what we did last year and share the future, what we’re going to do next year.

“If they got some problem, we will share it together and help each other.”

Despite being away from their family members in China, Mr Zhang and his family were still able to celebrate with them through video-calling.

Though they could not be together in person, Mr Zhang was glad to be celebrating the Chinese New Year in Gore.

“I really love this peaceful town,” he said.