Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted Friday 12th February 2021

Since many will be celebrating this Chinese New Year in lockdown, we wanted to find out more about how Chinese New Year is celebrated and what it really means to some of our valued contacts, so we caught up with a couple to find out how they plan to mark the Chinese New Year.

Here is a snapshot of what we found out from Aileen Lin, Marketing Director at Chance Bridge Partners and Grace Zhao, Founder at China Unbound.

Why is CNY celebrated? And why is it important to you?

Aileen: “The Chinese New Year is of special significance to the Chinese people. It is not only a holiday, but also a cultural symbol. The Chinese New Year is the most solemn traditional festival of the Chinese nation. It not only embodies the Chinese nation’s belief, ideal, and entertainment & culture, but also the carnival display of blessing, food, and entertainment. The Chinese New Year embodies the Chinese nation’s everlasting filial piety culture and the traditional virtues of respecting the old and loving the young. It is also a perfect stage for cultural inheritance. For me, the Chinese New Year is also the most important festival. It is not only a time to reunite with my families, but also represents the beginning of the new year, full of hope and vitality.”

What does CNY mean to you?

Grace: “I left China as a teenager when my family immigrated to New Zealand. Chinese New Year is an important reminder of my ties with China, my identity. Remembering the great times I had with my extended family in Guangzhou, the food you can only get around the New Years, and the hongbao (red pocket)!  I think Chinese New Year provides a way for me to connect with my Chinese identity and the opportunity to have great food and catch up with old friends!”

Aileen: “The Chinese New Year is intended to ring out the old year and usher in the new, and is a symbol of reunion and safety. For me, the Chinese New Year means that I can get together with my families and deepen our relationship. And I can have a good rest after a busy year! It is also a good time for me to prepare and plan for the coming year, both at work and in life.”

How do you normally celebrate CNY (i.e. as a firm, with family or friends)?

Grace: “There is a nice Chinese restaurant near London City Airport, my good friend Tom is in charge of their annual CNY dinner. There would usually be 10-12 of us. We have lobster noodles, jelly fish, and all sorts of weird and wonderful Chinese delicacies, while looking out the window to see flights take off!  I would also call my parents back in New Zealand and send new year wishes to my relatives in China.”

Aileen Lin: “I usually celebrate the CNY with my families, paste couplets, and watch the CCTV New Year’s Gala. Sometimes I go out, to temple fairs, visit relatives and friends. It is usually full of laughter.”

What is your favourite traditional food and drink to enjoy during the CNY?

Aileen: “Dumplings. Dumplings are indispensable on the table for New Year’s Eve dinner. Especially in the north of China, making and eating dumplings has become an important part of most families celebrating New Year’s Eve.”

How will you be celebrating it this year given the current restrictions?

Grace: “There is no CNY dinner planned this year, but we will definitely be meeting online with friends and I will be calling my parents and wishing that I could be there to have mum and dad’s cooking.  Chinese New Year is a time for family and friends, but just because we can’t meet now, doesn’t mean we can’t connect with them. I am hopeful that we can see our friends and family sometime in the year of Ox!”

Aileen: “Given the current restrictions, many of the entertainment celebrations have been cancelled, to ensure safety. We’re unable to go out to visit relatives and friends. But this is also a good opportunity to get along with my family and relax myself. Of course, reunion dinners and red envelopes are still essential. Certainly, we will still send greetings messages to relatives and friends through WeChat, phone calls, etc.”

Wishing everyone health and happiness for Chinese New Year (however, you are able to safely spend it), from everyone at Joelson.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.

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