Chinese New Year is one of important holidays in Korea since Korean calendar is following this lunar calendar. Gift package sets are now can be found in all supermarket and shopping mall, dominating almost 80% space there. People are going to their hometown to celebrate it. At some places I could see them bringing big luggage in one hand and Hanbok (Korean traditional cloth) in other hand. Hiro got 5 days holiday now, but this time we're not going anywhere.
Missing home, this chinese new year celebration brings me back to my childhood time. Born from a mother whose Indonesian-chinese blood line, I experienced this chinese-Indonesian tradition when I spent my childhood in Banjarmasin. A city where my mother comes from and has almost all her family there. I lived in a big long house where traditionally all the family members are all packed there. Almost 16 cousins were living together.
Chinese new year in my mind was a busy happy time to celebrate. Days before that, our mothers bought us new red clothes for welcoming it. Chinese believe that red is a symbol of happiness so especially during chinese New Year, red color is a must for our new clothes. Early in the morning we would all wake up, got dressed, and rushed to the main room of the big house. There was already a big dining table full of various food in the living room, right in front of the main door. There's "Engkong" (my grandfather)'s black and white picture in the middle, with burnt incents on the left and right side of it. In front of that, all the delicious food were beautifully decorated.
At first my grandmother lit the first incents and prayed in front of the table. After that she put the incents inside that glass standing beside my engkong's picture. After that all her children would do the same ceremony one by one, starting from the eldest. Then we, all the grandchildren got our turn one by one. The table would remain there the whole day, giving chance for any guest who visited us to pray for our grandfather and to wish us a prosperous New Year. Usually at the end of the day, all the children would wait nearby the table until our grandmother cleaned it up. What for? of course for the delicious food and sweets hahahah
After the praying ceremony in the morning, usually the children got the red small envelopes with money inside called ANGPAU from the parents and elderly. As long as I can remember, this was the best part of New Year for us as a kid. We spent the whole day visiting relatives and friends to wish them New Year, and of course....to get more and more Angpau hahaha.
Can't really remember when, but maybe when I was in Junior High my grandmother didn't do the table praying tradition anymore because Catholic church said that it's forbidden. Of course we still did the Angpao hunting :p years after. But I then as I moved to Surabaya to study at a university there, I stopped following the tradition. Chinese New Year for me now is only a childhood memory. I even just knew the real story behind Chinese New Year celebration after reading Ceplas ceplos blog :p
And to all my friends who celebrate this Chinese New Year: May you have a prosperous and a very happy New Year. Gōngxǐ fācái Xīnián kuàilè.