Jenny Han is a teacher of Chinese living in Chandler’s Ford. Today she is sharing with us her childhood memory of the Chinese New Year.
I have known Jenny for more than ten years. She is a trusted friend, an experienced teacher and translator, and she used to be a translator and interpreter for the Metropolitan Police.
Jenny is originally from the mainland China. She has been living in Chandler’s Ford since January 1991. This coming Chinese New Year will be the 24th Chinese New Year Jenny is staying in England. She misses home.
What is your job, Jenny?
“Currently I teach Chinese language and culture in schools and I also teach privately.”
Whereabouts in China are you from? What is the place like?
“I am from a coastal city, Dalian, in northeast of China. Dalian is the most beautiful place. It was once occupied by the British, Russian and later, the Japanese.”
How did you and your family celebrate the Chinese New Year in the old days?
“Talking about celebrating the Chinese New Year I still can remember vividly how we celebrated it when I was little.”
“Mum was very busy with cleaning the whole house thoroughly for a week, not only the house, but changed all the beddings, washed all the curtains, under the beds and all the furniture to get rid of the dirt and dust, welcomed the New Year with a new, clean and fresh look everywhere in our household.”
“On the Chinese New Year’s eve, while my mum was preparing all the delicious New Year’s feast, my father took me out to the street and lit the fireworks.”
“Looking at the fireworks lit the sky with a big bang, both of my father and I were so excited and happy. It says to light the fireworks in the New Year’s eve is to get rid of the evil spirit, so every Chinese New Year’s eve close to the midnight we lit fireworks. It was one of the ways we celebrated the Chinese New Year.”
“On New Year’s day we all wore new clothes, in and out were all new. New year, new look, and new good luck.”
What are the must-have Chinese New Year dishes for your family in Dalian?
“One of the two must-have dishes on the New Year’s dining table is the dumplings. They are the symbols of money: the more you eat, the more money would come to your way in the New Year.
Another must-have dish is the fish. It sounds and represents the wealth that will not be ending. From the old days until modern days we all have dumplings and fish for the New Year’s feast.”
How do you normally celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chandler’s Ford?
“Usually my husband would book a table at a local Chinese restaurant where we could have some Chinese food while enjoying the Chinese music and the lion dancing. But recent years we have preferred to watch the Chinese New Year’s Eve Gala on CCTV. It is a verity show, and it has always made my heart closer to my home, Dalian China.”
Below is a video clip of Celine Dion singing on Chinese New Year Gala 2013 – she sang in Chinese: the song Jasmine Flower (Chinese: 茉莉花; pinyin: Mò lì huā) and in English, My Heart Will Go On: