Chinese and Lunar New Year – Its a Family Affair!
Part 1 of a CulturalPulse 5-part series on Chinese and Lunar New Year highlights the importance of the annual family Reunion Dinner and the key elements of this global tradition.
Every year Singtel puts out an annual CNY/Lunar New Year video. This is one of our favourites that shows both the power of tradition and the importance of family.
Part 1 – Its a Family Affair
The most important binding element of Lunar New Year is the strengthening of kinship through the annual reunion of family and friends and paying respects to revered ancestors.
Lunar New Year is celebrated differently all over the world and we asked members of different Asian communities in Australia on the importance of the extended family at this important time.
For Michael Deng, Chairman of Australian Chinese Sports Club, Sydney, the holiday was a very important time for preservation of family and culture:
“As a young child it’s always exciting to meet with your grandparents and family members. These memories remain with you as you grow older. The reunion dinner is where family stories are shared and passed down generation to generation.”
Lunar New Year is officially opened through through a traditional feast featuring members of the extended family who join together at their ancestral home from across China and overseas.
Cecil Huang who represents the 1688 Media Group, based in Melbourne notes that this year will be the first ‘virtual reunion’ for families:
“This is the one time of the year when all family members make an effort to gather together and connect with their elders, usually their grandparents and parents. This year, due to the impact of the coronavirus, we will still celebrate Lunar New Year with families through video calls.”
Families traditionally pay respect to their ancestors by lighting incense in the home and at the temple and also by worshipping the gods for good health, prosperity, good fortune and to drive away evil spirits.
This year it’s the Ox which will play an important influence on the New Year. In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal because of its traditional role in agriculture. The characteristics of the Ox is hardworking intelligent and honest.
Ancient popular board game Mahjong is also widely played amongst and enjoyed by family members reconnecting.
For Ted Fong President of the Gold Coast Chinese Club, also one of the early founders of ‘Chinatown’ on the Gold Coast and originally from Hong Kong, Lunar New Year has a crucial role in the preservation and passing of ancient traditions:
“Some of our ancient traditions are valued more by the older generations in China Australia and around the world. I still remember how we celebrated when I was a young boy. It is also about teaching our young ones the importance of valuing these traditions.”
Beyond the feats and reconnection the Lunar New Year holiday is important to families for business reasons.
“In Hong Kong businesses close for 3 days and even longer in Mainland China so it really is the only time for families to all come together.” said Mr Fong.
“It’s a time for reckoning as business owners use this time the end of the financial year just before the start of the New Year to calculate their profit and loss for the year and work out whether they will extend their business or not” he added.
This is not just important for businesses its also important for individuals said Lin K a successful Chinese Australian originally from Chengdu the capital of the Sichuan Province in China.
“It is also a time for individuals to review their own financials, and if they have any outstanding debts owed that these are cleared, before the start of the New Year as a sign of more good things to come.”
- Lunar New Year – Part 2 – Connection through Gifts
- Lunar New Year – Part 3 – Food is Heaven
- Lunar New Year – Part 4 – Its lion and dragon dancing
- Lunar New Year – Part 5 – It’s the Lantern Festival
Chinese or Lunar New Year is one of the largest festivals in the world, spanning 15-days and celebrated in China, South Korea, Vietnam and in East Asian diaspora communities across the world.
This year the festival starts on 12 February, 2021 and ends on Friday evening, with the Lantern Festival on 26 February 2021.
Keen to learn more or reach the 1.4 million strong Chinese community or other Asian markets in Australia? Contact our team at [email protected]