Actually I'm a Chinese descendant but am married to a non-Chinese man (my hubby is a pure Javanese). Though we are mix-married, but so far we don't have issues with it. So, my big family and I usually have Chinese New Year celebration, and at these times I usually take my hubby to join this celebration with my family. He usually has no problems with that and in fact, he looks very excited every time he joins us in this celebration. Want to know why? Because there are lots of food, I mean lots and lots of them! The most common one is meals made from bamboo shoots, because bamboo shoots will be likely to be found in this period (near the Chinese New Year). Others like grilled pork, chicken steam rice, fried noodles, dim sum, steam buns, sea food are all there. My mother is a great cook so she always cooks those meals for us... :) Well, in this day, relatives and friends are usually coming to our house just to say, "Gong Xi Fat Chai" (meaning 'Happy New Year'). The children, teenagers and older people (grandparents) would be given money or 'ang pao' (money placed in small red envelopes). There are dragon dances here and there and they would pass through our house. Not to mention the fireworks. Oh it's just fun! However, a day before the celebration, we usually go to our dead relatives' graves to pray and to bless us and then clean their graves. At the very first morning of the Chinese New Year day, I would help my mom cooking the dishes and then arranging them. We also prepare some for my late grandmother (from my father) who has been cremated. We arrange a table for her, then put her photo and the meals (including some fruits). We pray for her while burning incense and say in our prayer that we already prepare some meals for her, and ask her to eat. When I was child, I always wondered if dead people could eat meals, but my mom said that in Chinese traditions we still believe that spirits were in some ways like us, humans. Don't know if it's true, though.. LOL.. We use two coins to know if my grandmother has already finished eating. We flip the coins and if they share the same sides, it indicates that she hasn't finished eating. If the coins show opposites sides, we can then clean her table including the meals. We can eat the meals (for real, of course) then.
In summary, there are two things I admire from Chinese New Year celebration in my family:
1. The tribute to the ancestors and dead relative. In this time of the year, we all gather to pray and to tribute them, and to ask for prosperity and peace.
2. The spirit of togetherness. All relatives and friends gather together to celebrate this wonderful event. All laughs and chatters are all here, only in this time of the year.
So, do you want to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family? Come, you are all invited! :) This year (2010) it would be in February 14th, just in time with Valentine's day. You won't regret coming here, I promise! :)
Note: The icon color for Chinese New Year is red, means 'happiness'.