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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Building Family Traditions

"Why do you bother to spring clean your house, decorate it and buy Chinese New Year cookies?"

Each year, for Chinese New Year, we balik kampung or return to my hometown to visit my relatives. When we return we hardly entertain any visitors at home. Friends in similar situations (which is quite a number) often say that it is unnecessary for them to do spring cleaning, decorate and buy cookies. They say "I just close up my house and go away. Why should I bother. I won't allow the kids to eat so much junk food so I won't buy cookies. Besides there is no one visiting. So why should I clean up and decorate as well. I don't have the time."

However, I feel it is very important for us to do these things. We do it for the kids naturally and in doing so, for ourselves too. Now that the kids are older, we have started building our own family traditions.

So it is important to us to do these things. We involve the kids every step of the way. When we spring clean, their job is to clean the car and the porch. When we decorate, they help to make the decorations and decide where to hang them. They help to choose their favourite cookies that they can only eat once a year.

The whole family goes shopping together for new shoes and clothes. We try to limit buying clothes to just once a year so that it will fell really special. If you buy throughout the year, then it is no longer special or something to look forward to. We don't just buy the clothing for them. We take them along to try them on. They love this. They love choosing their own clothing. They also love to help me and my husband choose ours.

On new year's eve, after a bath, we let them wear new pyjamas to herald the start of the New Year. We eat our own reunion dinner, only the four of us. Cooking at home is a must. No eating out. Having dinner at a restaurant is not a reunion dinner to us. This is the only time when husband joins us at the dining table, so it IS a reunion. The rest of the time, he eats in front of the tv. We don't join my relatives in my hometown for a big noisy reunion because my husband is not so comfortable with that. As his wife, I learn to respect his likes and dislikes so we have our own quiet one.

After dinner, the kids help me to pack money into angpow packets. I help the girl put on some nail polish to make her pretty for the New Year. We try out our Chinese New Year cookies and eat some mandarin oranges.

On the first day of CNY we don our new clothes and visit the same places and people. On the 2nd, 3rd, days etc, we do roughly the same things we do every year.

We started this, our very own little family tradition a few years ago. The kids are familiar with it now and they look forward to it very much. So do I.

1 comment:

  1. that's nice .. fo rme .. lazy to cook. every year we go back to both of families to eat. so its noisy all the way. headache especially when there many cousins every year. :)


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