Buddy chat with Liz: Celebrating Chinese New Year!
Hello! I am Liz and recently became a Babipur buddy, which for me, is like a dream come true! My husband and I are both Malaysians of Chinese descent. We have two lovely boys Toby (4years old) and Caleb (2years old). They are more commonly known as Mr4 and Mr2 on my Instagram account @mummyyof2boys.
I was born and bred in Malaysia and came to the UK for university. After graduating, I stayed on to work and just like that, I will be celebrating my 10th working year in 2021! I have been thinking about what Babipur product/s will be most suitable to celebrate this milestone. Any suggestions?
I stumbled upon the Babipur website while googling “Grimms UK”. A personal blog I was reading at the time was showcasing and raving about the beautiful colours of Grimms toys and I just wanted to see what the hype was! Our first wooden toys are the beautiful Grimms 12pc rainbow and rainbow hearts. Since then, I have most definitely dived in head first into the magical world of wooden toys!
Apart from toys, the Babipur community has also reignited my zeal for cloth nappies and introduced me to reusable wipes, reusable cloth sanitary products, eco-friendly clothes, eco living, etc. My life is definitely far from zero waste but I am so happy to have made some swaps that has helped reduced our landfill!
How do you celebrate CNY at home?
Chinese New Year celebrations are the main event of the year for all Chinese. It is celebrated over 15 days and there are lots of preparations to be made in advance. My family usually start of with spring-cleaning the house, putting out decorations, stocking up on special Chinese new year snacks and drinks and buying new outfits for the whole family. Sometimes my father would take us out for a night drive round the city just to look at the lights and decorations put out for Chinese New Year!
We also routinely give gifts to close friends and family. The gifts are normally food related. The chefs of the family will also be busy planning the big family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve! Growing up, Chinese New Year’s eve was mostly spent at my paternal grandparents’. We would have a big family dinner called a “reunion dinner” then watch special programmes on TV and stay up late to ring in the New Year. The firecrackers and fireworks released at midnight were loud and brings much excitement!
Chinese New Year’s day 1-3 are normally public holidays in Malaysia, so we use that time to visit family and friends. Married adults will give out blessings in the form of red envelopes with money, to children and the elderly, in exchange for some auspicious words mostly related to health, success and happiness. My grandmother is quite superstitious and didn’t allow any floor sweeping on day 1 of Chinese New Year as it symbolises sweeping away good luck. We also typically wear red during the New Year as it’s believed to be an auspicious colour.
It is also a must to watch a lion or dragon dance performance during the Chinese New Year period. You can catch them in malls, house parties, restaurants, etc. Life pretty much goes back to normal once the public and school holidays end. We would have another family reunion dinner on day 15, the last day of Chinese New Year. I grew up in a Christian family so we did not participate in temple visits, ancestral prayers or food offerings, but they usually happen throughout the Chinese New Year period on various days.
What will you be cooking for your NYE dinner?
This year, as it’s just the 4 of us, we would be having a simple but slightly special dinner. Our menu would probably look something like this: rice with steamed sea bass, braised chicken + shitake mushrooms, stir-fried vegetables and Chinese soup. If there is room for dessert, we will probably have some sweet dumplings!
Any creative decorations this year?
Honestly, this is the first year I have made any Chinese New Year crafts! We followed the templates prepared by the Babipur Craft Club and made Chinese red lanterns, Chinese dragons, and red envelopes. It was great fun and a good opportunity for me to talk to my 4yr old a little more about our Chinese heritage.
What do the kids love most about CNY?
Being a child is 100% the best part about CNY! You get free money, unlimited snacks, unlimited sweet drinks, new clothes, and new shoes and basically play all day with siblings, cousins and friends. I remember staying up late with my siblings, almost every night counting out the money we got from our red packets and just dreaming about how we were going to spend all that money!
Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post! Do give me a wave and let me know what experiences you have had with Chinese New Year! Or if you do celebrate CNY, do leave us a comment with how you celebrate it!
Wishing all my fellow Babipurians a very Happy Chinese New Year. May you be blessed with health, happiness and success!