The second day of our family’s Chinese New Year’s celebration was marked by the exchanging of the red envelopes and food, lots and lots of food.
Chinese New Year in our family was regarded as more of a family affair, time to enjoy each other companies and give thanks for yet another year passed, rather than an occasion to respect the Chinese tradition. In short, we didn’t do it for the tradition, we did it for us.
Tradition stated that only the married members of the family were allowed to give out red envelopes, but I didn’t care and had been handing out mine to my parents, grandparents, and my brothers for the past three years. I had no idea of any of the bad luck that was supposed to find me after I broke that rule. So far none had hit upon me and I truly believe that none ever would. I have a God that is bigger than any superstitious tradition.
We weren’t the kind of family who decorated our house for Chinese New Year. The only decoration present was flowers my grandmother bought from the market a day before. She arranged them herself.
My mother used our best crystals for serving the snacks.
The day started with my parents exchanging their Ang Pao (red envelopes). Followed by me and my brothers. We greeted each other Gong Xi Fat Cai, which means ‘Congratulations and be prosperous’, then we may add a few more prayers for good health, success, and happiness. After the greetings we exchanged red envelopes and took a few pictures. My Dad requested that I didn’t share the family pictures.
Next on the agenda was a trip to my grandmother’s place. The extended family had gathered there. It was chaos for the next thirty to forty minutes, as we all took turns greeting each other Gong Xi Fat Cai. It had always been like this – no rules, no formality, just family laughing and loving each others’ companies.
After that, we all headed back to my parents’ place for lunch. My chef brother cooked a real delicious roasted pork belly (wasn’t pictured) and my grandmother’s pork meat balls were, as always, legendary.
It was a grand time filled with family time. This year’s Chinese New Year celebration ended with a dinner and a movie (It’s a Good Day to Die Hard), a new thing we added to our usual routine. Happy year of the snakes!