The past few weeks – from Christmas through to New Year, Australia Day and Chinese New Year – meant many occasions to have people over. We have been reconnecting, celebrating together and of course, sharing good food and laughter together.
Now that all the festivities are over, it is time to head back to school for the kids and back to work and routines for the adults.
How do you feel about special occasions?
Tiring? Fun? Anxious? Tedious? Unnecessary?
When I was growing up, the Chinese New Year was the biggest occasion that was celebrated, not only nationwide, but worldwide. It is a 15 day affair where family members will come back from around the world for family reunions, sharing experiences over good food.
It was really fun for the kids. On Chinese New Year’s eve, all the children from the neighbourhood gathered outside their homes, getting ready for the fireworks at midnight to greet the New Year. I can still remember the laughter amongst us kids, and the beauty and sound of the fireworks. The adults would often join the kids, exchanging greetings to welcome in the New Year.
However, it was very tiring and stressful time for the adults, especially the host as they had to host, prepare most of the cooking and organise the home. However that's where memories were made – that home, that place and the people there.
What are the benefits of festivities and family gatherings?
Over the past few weeks, I was have been busy with organising gatherings to celebrate Chinese New Year with friends, since our relatives are all back in Malaysia. The connections with my friends are special – like connecting with family.
Family and Connections
Now that people lead busy lives, living further away from their parents and relatives, it is harder to keep in touch and see each other very often. Also some people may live overseas for work and will not see their parents and relatives for at least a few years.
However, festivities are important as they encourage people to make an effort to plan and head back home to visit their relatives and friends.
Also you will find that your children will be more cooperative and chip in to help more voluntarily for special events. They will know that it is a family occasion; they will feel a sense of belonging, thus they will be more willing to participate in the festivity – a fun way to connect.
Learn about traditional values
During the festivities, it is also a good opportunity to cook some traditional dishes and sweets. These dishes may be time consuming and may not be something that you cook often.Yet through the family gathering, it is another opportunity to reconnect to your family roots and values through family food.
It is also a good opportunity to introduce your children to the food, culture, and values that you used to have when you were a child. Share with them how the traditional food is prepared. The experience will also give your child a chance to better understand who you are…..your childhood and the traditions that you were brought up with!