Chinese New Year always reminds me of my late maternal grandmother who back when she was still alive, was always busy cooking and cleaning the house weeks before the New Year. I miss her spirit in celebrating Chinese New Year (CNY) because none of us will do the things she did to celebrate CNY.
My late grandmother was raised in traditional Chinese family and practiced Confucianism, so event like CNY was a big thing for her.
As far as I could remember, she would pray for her late parents and parents-in-law a week before the new year. She prepared a table, lit incense, and prayed. She served Chinese dishes along with the utensils on that table. She told me she invited her parents and in-laws to eat. It was part of the tradition, to honor our ancestors.
Our family’s tradition during CNY is to eat dinner together on the night before the CNY day. My late grandmother was a great cook, so she cooked all dishes and then invited us to eat dinner at her house. Shark fin soup and Hainanese chicken were some of her signature dishes for the holiday.
7 years have passed since she left us, and the way we celebrate CNY’s eve dinner have changed. No more homemade Chinese food, instead, we ate at the restaurant. For the past two years, my maternal grandpa has been asking Mama to buy for him Hainanese Chicken on CNY. My late grandma always served this food on CNY, and my grandpa apparently missed her homemade Hainanese Chicken. We could order Hainanese Chicken at most of the Chinese food restaurants in town, but the taste of the food and the atmosphere couldn’t replace the time while she was still with us. We all miss her.
Happy Chinese New Year!