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Chinese New Year: Marcus

20th January 2023

Please introduce yourself and tell us where you’re from and how long you’ve been at KESW.

I am Marcus and I am from Hong Kong, I and my family have just relocated to the UK 2 months ago, and I have been studying in KESW Year 8 for about a month now.

Chinese New Year is often celebrated with Lion dances. Why?

Lion dance represents good luck and fortune, and was thought to be able to keep ghosts and monsters away. It started more than a thousand years ago, when real lions were first seen in China, It is done in Chinese New Year because it is some kind of celebration, and want it to be fortunate.

What is the most famous and lucky food at Chinese New Year and why?

The most common Chinese New Year foods in HK are probably sweet rice cakes which means prosperity and turnip cakes which means climbing high, it is a soft and savoury cake made of mostly flour and small bits of turnip and pork. They are usually sold at many Chinese restaurants for us to take home and cook. People also eat dumplings, glutinous rice balls etc. We will also pack a box filled with sweets during New Year, it could just be modern sweets, but some people put traditional sweets such as sweetened coconut slices and lotuses.

How long do celebrations last for?

Although we have two weeks of holiday at school, it lasts for about a week, from the 28th of the last month when we do cleaning, 30th when we have a reunion dinner, to the 1st to 4th day of the new year when we usually visit many relatives, go to each other’s houses, and receive or give out red pockets. We put up decorations a few days in advance though, including putting up red banners throughout the house on doors and windows, with positive and congratulating words on it. We will also buy flowers such as Chinese Narcissus which is white and yellow, it represents memories with someone and generally good times.

You and your family have recently relocated to the UK from Hong Kong. How are you planning to celebrate this year?

We have just bought some rice flour, so we will cook rice cakes and taro cakes at home. We will also meet our friends from Hong Kong that lives close to us now, and probably put up decorations such as red banners at home.

Anything else you’d like to share with our community to inform them about the importance and relevance of Chinese New Year in Hong Kong?

In my opinion, Chinese New Year is similar with Christmas in the UK, being the most important festival of the year, families enjoy spending time together and meeting up with other relatives.

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