Chinese New Year (CNY) this year came slightly earlier than usual - I prefer CNY to fall in the month of February so that the public holidays are more spaced out. But early or not, our CNY routine over the years have not deviated much.
We started off the first day of the Year of the Rooster by taking the mandatory cheekiemonkie family photo. After all, these photos serve as perfect reminders how the monkies have grown with each passing year. Or how much weight I have gained.
And it sure did not help that my Mum always whip up the CNY delicacies that I have grown up with.
Another family tradition that we never fail to do every year is serving tea to the elders.
The monkies readily do it.
After all, it is the only way they can receive their angpows. LOL.
More photo-taking usually ensue...
As with the continued and non-stop feasting.
This is how a typical CNY visit for us usually goes:
1. Monkies ask me how many houses we will be visiting on Day 1 and 2.
2. Reach the house.
3. Remove shoes at the door.
4. Present 2 Mandarin oranges to the home owner. (*On a side-note, I secretly wish to add GPS trackers to my oranges given to different households during the Chinese New Year period, just to see where they end up.)
5. Hug, kiss, wish Gong Xi Fa Cai to everyone.
6. Make small talk for 10 to 15 minutes with anyone you can find.
8.5. Lohei, if applicable
9. Eat some more (because it will be rude if you refuse, no?)
10. Distribute angpows. Or if you are like the monkies, make yourself conspicuous so that no adult will miss you.
11. Take a group photo.
12. Announce that we will have to visit another house.
13. Everyone stands, and more shaking hands to say farewell.
14. Receive back 2 mandarin oranges from the host.
15. Attempt to pick out our shoes from the mountain of footwear at the door.
16. Monkies checks off a house from their mental check-list.
Pretty repetitive stuff but somehow, CNY is one festive occasion that I look forward to the most.
When I was a kid, collecting angpows was undoubtedly the highlight of CNY. I used to love opening up my angpows at the end of the day and counting them to see if the amount tallied with what my sister got. Yes, I have different priorities back then. CNY also used to be all about eating, going from house to house to try the best pineapple tarts or bak kwa.
Today, I associate CNY with being able to spend time with my loved ones and friends. And especially relatives who I usually see once a year.
Is it a case of being older and wiser? Perhaps.
But I guess as I age, I realise that many of the things I used to hold dear are not all that important after all. What matters most is all of my loved ones and friends remain healthy and happy every single year.
Hope that this year's CNY has been exceptional for you too!