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Honoring Chinese New Year

January 24, 2020
By Cheryl Pan

When I was little, Chinese New Year was my favorite time of the year. No school. Pretty new clothes. Late-night fireworks. Delicious snacks… My dad would dress the house with flashy red and gold decorations and my mum would cook us big meals with all the “auspicious dishes” like chicken and fish. It was always buzzy with greetings and visits with the relatives, and kids like me were usually most excited about the red packets, the “lucky money” in red envelopes, given by the elders.

It was not until I left home to study and work in different places that I realized Chinese New Year meant so much more. Being away from my family has made me appreciate this festival even more because it is the time for a reunion – like many others, on Chinese New Year’s Eve, I am anxious to hit the road to meet my family and join them for the once-in-a-year reunion dinner. During the feast, we celebrate the precious time of being together.

During the past eight years, I have found a lot of joy celebrating Chinese New Year here in Hong Kong, too. The FleishmanHillard and BlueCurrent family has been like a home away from home for me. The Hong Kong office has a good tradition of holding symbolic activities like the lion dance, giving Lai See (red packets in Cantonese), Hoi Nin Fan (lunch gathering to celebrate the start of the lunar new year), etc. I feel privileged to be working in an international company that respects the local culture and heritage where it operates.

FleishmanHillard and BlueCurrent Hong Kong teams celebrate Chinese New Year with Lion Dance tradition.

It is also interesting to see how Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world. My husband, before moving to Hong Kong, used to BBQ in his T-shirt in Australia where Chinese New Year falls in Summer. My relatives in the U.S. go to China Town for Yum Cha. My Chinese friends in Europe make dumplings and have hotpot, sometimes followed by board games.

Cheryl and her husband preparing for Chinese New Year.

Rich in traditions with thousands of years of history, Chinese New Year, thanks to ever-changing technology, is honored in some modern ways, too. For those I cannot meet physically, now I can give them red packets in e-cash through WeChat, wish them well via video calls or simply create funky personalized short videos and stickers and send them around as greetings.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, Chinese New Year is all about being together with your loved ones and welcoming a fresh start with wishes for all the great things. To those who celebrate it, may the new year be filled with health, success and happiness! Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Cheryl Pan is an account director based in our BlueCurrent Hong Kong office.