Blog of Justin Cheuk, home to writing on London, Hong Kong, Studying Abroad, Trains and Travels.

Lunar New Year in Durham

The ‘artsy’ pic as requested…

Last Sunday marked the beginning of Lunar (Chinese) New Year of the Snake. Although it’s a couple of days late, I hope everyone will have a very nice year ahead of them.

Lunar New Year is perhaps the single most important festival during the year in any countries influenced by Chinese culture. Although people have a million ways to celebrate it nowadays, the message of the festival is clear: to be with family. People do go into great lengths about this: in China the movement from the coastal cities back home for New Year is apparently the biggest human mass migration on Earth.

However since I am have lived abroad in England for the good chunk of my school years, I haven’t properly celebrated New Year for a long, long time. Not that I really minded it. While staying here meant that I have to swap a week’s holiday for A-level modules, there are certain elements within the celebration that I don’t particularly enjoy. Yes, you get red packets (hopefully) full of cash. However this at the expense of some truly awkward situations…

This is the time of the year when you meet those relatives that you only see once a year. Thus after received red packets the nonstop bombardment of your last would start, as if these ‘uncles and aunties’ have paid to interrogate you. When I was a child the questioning inevitably started at ‘How old are you now? (since they have no idea)’, going onto anything possible. Since you are likely to visit more than one group of such relatives, this questioning process would seem to go on forever… and it is a lot worse at my age when questions about relationships kicks in…

Nevertheless, the celebrations this year has been a bit different for me. Before when I was still be secondary school in London, the New Year would have been a typical, normal day. Since none of the gang would be able to conjure up any Chinese food from a toaster (which is all we officially were allowed to use), celebrating the day would definitely involved some kind of Chinese takeaway food. Just like any normal day. Also, for some reason, we tended to only celebrate New Year with people from the same city, even though we were all doing to same thing.

Not exactly New Year atmopshere

Therefore this New Year has definitely been quite a change. It snowed pretty heavily today again, and as far as I could remember that must be my first New Year spent under a sheet of snow. We finally have somewhere and somebody that be make something other than egg fried rice. So we had something like a house party where we enjoyed many delicious homemade food. (Cheers for that, although all I could do was to bring coke) We even had Tangyuan! I struggled to explain what it actually is, but it is something that represented a gathering of friends and families.

There was also a formal meal in college for the New Year. Again, it’s not common practice to eat Chinese food while dressed up in gowns, so it really was a strange experience. Unfortunately food wasn’t great: the so-called ‘Cantonese Egg Tarts’ was nowhere near where I thought it was and really was a massive letdown…

Also, this was probably the first time I have celebrated the New Year with someone living outside of Hong Kong. We had friends here from all over the world celebrating together. A few things that I never knew: apparently, In Malaysia and Singapore, one celebrates the Lunar New Year with salads, with ingredients meaning for different types of luck. I don’t think I have ever eaten a salad during New Year before in my life. Although we all celebrate the same cause, it’s interesting to know that we do different stuff.

I was asked what music do we listen to during the New Year. Honestly had no idea, so just searched on google and came up with whatever those horrible sound we heard during that day. After posting that on my previous post, someone suggested me with a even more lethal one. Please sit back, enjoy, and laugh. Happy Lunar New Year!

7 Responses to “Lunar New Year in Durham

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    好文章!!!! :) – GRACI

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    不知道你有沒有吃過鮮肉湯圓 😛

    • 我想有吧。但應該是很久很久以前的事,都不記得了。

  • cup cup need win lor ==

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Wow, the song is really lethal n hilarious!

    Sorry if I had been one of the CNY interrogators!!! Ha ha!

    Still cold there? Wish you a fruitful n healthy new year!

    Auntie Cheuk Wai Fong