It often surprises people to find out that as an Australian of European heritage I celebrate Chinese New Year and have done so for the past 25 years. Having entered the workforce as a rather naive young woman, my first boss was a Chinese national who took me under her wing and explained all the usual work essentials such as the importance of punctuality, precision performance and subtly in power dressing. Working not far from the China Town district in Sydney every Friday we would share lunch and my love affair and cultural education of Australia’s northern neighbour began.
Once married, unable to visit China Town, the tradition began were a few days prior to the official date we would venture off to the local Chinese restaurant which we had become regular diners and enjoy a lively meal with our Chinese hosts.
As time moved on, jobs changed and after many years, I again found myself in the center of a strong Asian community and was once more entranced by the customs and culture. Maybe it is natural progression that when East meets West you are forever changed? I am thankful that living in such a diverse multi-cultural country like Australia enables you to explore other cultures if so interested.
Encouraging an open door policy in my household, were all nationalities are to be welcomed as friends, it was whilst hosting a Chinese exchange student two years ago that I noticed the positive influence our lifestyle of inclusion and cultural awareness has made to my own children. By understanding the customs and significance of Chinese New Year were making wishes for luck, good fortune and prosperity ward off evil spirits they ensured that our visitor although missing his own family, enjoyed a unique and special celebration with us.
Tonight as we came together as a family gathered around the table feasting on a wonderful array of New Year foods (dumplings, spring rolls, steamed buns, noodles and peaches) we enjoyed the spirited company of one another which included a frenzied 20 minutes sending monkey emoji’s to one another cellphones (some things just can’t be explained!!!). Sitting back I proudly watched my children speaking basic Mandarin and wielded chopsticks like light-sabers as they welcomed a new friend from mainland China into our circle.
If you happen to be a “Monkey”, Chinese philosophy suggests it is going to be a particularly difficult year so maybe wish for all the good luck you can tonight! For everyone else Happy Chinese New Year!
NB: The photos were taken at The Ephemera II owned by Kidman Latte. In the spirit of friendship and celebration she has kindly opened her Asian creation for all to enjoy and take photos. With food such an important part of Chinese New Year, there is a big pot of food ready and waiting, so I certainly recommend you visit and savor a taste of the East. Who knows, maybe you will be entranced too.