“Today is #ChineseNewYear and I’m in full party mode. We have red banners and hanging swirl decorations of dragons and symbols that read ‘luck’ scattered around the house, ready to greet the family for a feast later on.
Growing up, I was never really fussed about the occasion. I graciously accepted the abundance of red envelopes filled with money from various relatives I didn’t know and carried on with my day. I am fully Chinese, however I was born and raised in England, and felt distant from my Chinese heritage. As an adult, I regret not embracing my culture and feel I have to make a big deal out of today, at least for my children’s sake.
My children are half Chinese and half English. And by half, I mean genetically. As a whole, they are very much English; they live in England, they mostly have English friends, they watch English programmes, eat English food and speak English. They see my side of the family every so often, and even though my grandmother struggles with the language, she tries to speak to them in English instead of her mother tongue, Cantonese.
Today though, I will try my best to speak Cantonese to them (although I struggle past basic commands like ‘put your shoes on’ and ‘go to sleep’). We will greet our close family members with ‘Sun nien fai lok’ and feast on ho fun noodles, spring rolls, dumplings and more. I’ll put on Cantonese nursery rhymes and pop songs on YouTube and we’ll embrace our culture, for at least one day, and hope for the other 364 days we will try harder to remember.”