It’s that time of the year again – when the corner shop runs out of your favourite snack but the city gets eerily calm, as the whole country – and some beyond – gear up for Chinese New Year Celebrations. While we love complaining about the stress of dragging ourselves across the country to listen to that uncle we don’t like hand out offensive comments like red envelopes, there is a lot about Chinese New Year to enjoy. From the food to the abundant parking, here are some of the things our WWAM friends and contributors are looking forward to most this coming CNY. What is getting you all excited about CNY? Let us know in the comments!
Jocelyn Eikenburg, Speaking of China
This is my first Chinese New Year ever in Beijing, and there’s something thrilling about living in a city that has these larger-than-life historical monuments, particularly during the holidays. My husband and I always traditionally include worship as part of our Chinese New Year customs – usually paying respects to ancestors, but also visiting temples when we have the opportunity. But this year, we can follow in the footsteps of past emperors in Beijing and pray at the Temple of Heaven.
I’m also psyched about food. Since I’m on duty during the holiday, we won’t have a lot of time to prepare. But we’re going to order out jiaozi dumplings from one of my favorite restaurants in town, Xian Lao Man (which happens to have quite a few vegan-friendly options). We’ll also prepare a couple of our own dishes – a fancy tofu stir-fry for me, and a spicy stir-fried fish for Jun.
Finally, as a huge fan of the Olympics, I’m looking forward to all of the outstanding holiday programming provided by the international sporting event.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Maria Deng, a new WWAM BAM contributor
I am looking forward to seeing both my son and nephew celebrate their first Chinese New Year together. It will be a wonderful celebration with the both of them still young (my son is 15 months, nephew is 3 months). These moments go by so quickly, I want to celebrate them by embracing their youth, and watching their faces light-up as they open ‘lycee’ (red envelopes) together. Although they may not understand a lot about the holiday yet, they will look back at this time one day and be grateful that we were all there to celebrate it together.
Becky Ances, aka Ms. Wai
I live on a college campus with 26,000 students and 2,000 teachers. Living on campus is a buzzhive of activity all year long with sporting events, performances, shopping markets on the street and drunk kids yelling all hours of the night. Except during Spring Festival that is, when the campus clears out and I am only one of a dozen people here. It’s sometimes spooky walking late at night in a completely dark and empty campus, and it’s not as convenient because most of the stores in the neighborhood also close, but it feels like I get to see a secret part of the school no one else does. It’s a perfect time to take a break, focus on something like writing, and if I go too crazy in the solitude I can just go to any mall which is packed with holiday shoppers. Then after I have my fill of people and waiting in lines, then I can sneak back to my quiet oasis and enjoy my Spring Festival break in peaceful solitude.
Spring Festival is such a magical time in China. Shops are closed, parking is abundant, and it feels like people everywhere are just taking a deep breath and relaxing. This Spring Festival I am looking forward to my husband being home from work and just being together with him and our son. Normally it’s so easy for either of us to rush off to do some task we forgot whenever we have a free moment, but during Spring Festival there’s nothing that can be done, so life can be simple. These coming weeks I hope we can do lots of eating, playing, and sleeping—and nothing else!
Holly, another new WWAM BAM! contributor
Well, currently I am going with the flow on what is happening in Hainan, where I will be spending my first ever Chinese New Year within Chinese borders. I’m looking forward to seeing the ocean for the first time. And learning more about how CNY is done in China. I previously have celebrated CNY at home with the local Chinese community. Therefore I’m looking foreword to learning new things. Also updates on Holly’s First CNY Adventure To Hainan:We are driving to Hainan but apparently we were going the wrong way. Because my Chinese father didn’t want to use GPS. Finally, I’m looking forward to CNY because my zodiac year will be over with!
Sarah from Diaries of a Yang Xifu
Laura Nutchey-Feng from Our Chinese Wedding
I am looking forward to this Chinese New Year mostly because it is going to be very different from the past few years. The past years, bar one exception, were spent in freezing Inner Mongolia, and to someone who really doesn’t do well with brain-numbing cold that is pretty much my idea of hell. Well, hell at least would be warm, what with all the flames. There are things I love about CNY in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia – our annual ritual of skating on a frozen lake, the fireworks (sorry, but I still love those), and my Mother-in-Laws lamb dumplings. Though I am not sad to be missing out on a diet of chunks of lamb and beef, noodles and potato that leave my gut feeling like it has been filled with cement and make me into a grumpy witch. Instead, I am opting for a pool-side cocktail in a hopefully very warm Southeast Asian country with no one but my Kindle to accompany me. Here’s to a good start to the New Year of the Dog. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up going to the dogs!
Wherever you are, whatever you’re getting up to this year, here’s to a happy CNY with all the things you love, and less of those that drive you up the wall!
Gong Xi Fa Cai, Gung Hei Fat Choi, Happy Year of the Dog!