This year, by wonderful coincidence, Chinese New Year falls on the same day as Australia Day.
Perhaps I hoped for a more creative combination of the two cultures – barbecued roast duck, mushrooms in vegemite sauce, crab and beer soup. But I suppose it’s best not to mess with tradition.
We had huge reunion dinner at my grandmother’s house, with my whole Chinese family! It was so much fun! So nice to see all the little cousins and grandchildren grow up.
I found the stash of Chinese New Year cookies. Some hand made by my aunties. It brought back so many memories of being a kid. We used to snack on this stuff for weeks. Until our bellies were full and our cheeks were raw from all the sugar and peanuts.
These days, I don’t give my kids any of these snacks as liberally as my parents did for us. In fact, I don’t eat of lot of this stuff anymore.
But today I couldn’t help it. I opened up each jar, one by one, savouring each one, remembering the weird and wonderful flavours. Remembering my childhood favourites – the love letters!
After dinner and dessert, my grandmother, the oldest and most senior in our family, made all the little grandchildren and great-grandchildren line up to receive an ang pow.
When Callum received his, he crept up to me with a very worried look on his face. He whispered, “I don’t mean to be rude, but I think Ah Tai forgot to put money in this ang pow! Should I tell her before everyone finds out?”
I had to laugh. “Dude. She’s giving you PAPER MONEY OK?”
Ah, it was a great evening.