New Year Time
The Chinese Lunar New Year used to be my favorite holiday when I was a child. The Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday in China. All the students usually finish their fall semester a couple of weeks before the New Year, so they always have a long break before their spring semester begins. Also, most of the companies close during the New Year, except some in the service industry such as shopping centers, movie theatres, and restaurants. Moreover, the New Year is a significant holiday for family gatherings. Since I moved to Chicago, everything has changed. I miss some of the feelings that I had in China, the New Year’s atmosphere, the family gathering time, and the food. There is a nostalgic feeling I can no longer find since I move to this country.
First, I miss the atmosphere of the New Year in China. When I walked on the street in my town during the New Year, I could feel joyousness in the air. From the mandarin plants that were in front of every store, to the New Year’s song that played on the street, the happiness was everywhere. The fireworks were a requisite show every year. Going out and watching fireworks used to be my family custom. I enjoyed to crowding with my family and feeling New Year’s atmosphere. This is how the New Year feels in China. In Chicago, the atmosphere is totally different. It is just like a normal day for everybody else. Even in the Chinatown, the stores don’t have that many ornaments for the New Year, no plants, no flowers, no fireworks. Also, the people who walk on the street seem like they are not too happy, probably because they need to work on the holiday.
Moreover, the Chinese New Year is a big holiday for the family. Since no one has school or work, my family always gathered on the holiday. All my family relatives used to gather in my grandparents’ old house. My parents, uncles, and aunties usually played mahjong because it is a custom in my family. In addition, I used to spend the time hanging out with my cousins, we went out to watch movies, went shopping, or maybe went to sing karaoke, and then everyone went back to our grandparents’ house to have a big dinner. The big dinner tradition is a most important custom in China. It a big tradition, just like Thanksgiving dinner for Americans. Since I moved to Chicago three years ago, everything has changed. In this country, the Chinese Lunar New Year like a normal day for everyone. My parents need to work on the Chinese New Year, and I probably got a night shift at work because I work in a restaurant as a waitress, so my family and I barely have time to have a big dinner together.
Furthermore, if my family had a chance to have the New Year’s dinner together, the food would not be as good as what we have for the New Year’s dinner in China. In typical Cantonese cuisine, the dishes mostly are steamed, such as steamed ginger and onion chicken and steamed fish with scallion strings on top. Cantonese people believe steamed cuisine could keep the original flavor of the food, so people are particular about fresh meat. Frozen chicken and fish are unacceptable on a particular Chinese table. However, there are only a couple of supermarkets that sell the fresh chicken and live fish in Chinatown. Unfortunately, my parents usually don’t have time to cook a big dinner because everybody needs to work, so we usually have some easy cuisine, such as hot pot for the New Year’s dinner.
In sum, I miss all these things that I had in China during the Chinese New Year-- the atmosphere, the family time, and the food that we had. I hope someday these all these nostalgic things could be able to found in Chicago. I am always dreaming that maybe my family won’t need to work during the Chinese Lunar New Year, then we will have a lot of time to prepare the big dinner. I predict the New Year will be the same as what we had in China and the Chinese New Year will come back to become my favorite holiday.