Thursday, March 11, 2021

chinese new year 2021.

Chinese New Year was very different for our family this year (and for lots of other people, too). We stayed in Beijing to celebrate because we weren't able to travel to Tony's hometown in Henan to see his family like usual.

It's the Year of the Ox.

Mabel is old enough to remember past celebrations, and she kept talking about seeing family members. She also talked a lot about the hongbao she got from her teacher last year filled with chocolate coins and the dragon dance they did at school. Since we couldn't see family, and school had moved online for the two weeks prior to the CNY holiday, we tried to ensure she and Clarke would have special memories from this year, too. 

T and I bought special outfits for the kids. Normally they would wear more traditional clothes to school for the CNY celebration, but we decided to go with something more "fun" and that they could wear regularly throughout the year. I want to remember that we almost didn't buy the red headband for Mabel but I'm so glad we did because she was most excited for that. I also want to remember that for days after we gave them the clothes, Mabel would ask if she could wear her "Chinese New Year clothes" and Clarke was so happy to be the "same" as Jiějiě ("big sister" and what we often call Mabel). 

We put up special decorations to bring good luck. I want to remember that Mabel showed the ox on their doors to anyone who came over and that Clarke wasn’t interested in hanging the decoration until he realized it meant climbing on a stool. 

We made dumplings with friends. The kids loved it, especially Mabel! But even after all her hard work, she only ate one. I was surprised, because normally she eats a lot of dumplings, but I think it was because she was more interested in running around and playing hide and seek than eating.

T's older brother and parents would usually give the kids hongbao (red envelopes with money) and they still did, but digitally, by transferring money through WeChat. So for the first time, T and I gave the kids hongbao from us. Mabel didn't really care about the money, even after we told her she could use it to buy a toy; she kept talking about the hongbao with chocolate from her teacher. Luckily, I had told Auntie Jo, our best friend, and she made sure to bring the kids hongbao with chocolate coins. I want to remember that she also brought hongbao for Tony and I. His had money, and mine was empty but taped to a bottle of wine—such a funny and sweet gesture!

We ate hot pot for dinner, and then when the kids were in bed, the grownups drank champagne, enjoyed a charcuterie board, and played What Do You Meme? Tony was the winner! We also watched the CCTV New Year's Gala, which is tradition!

We FaceTimed with T's family and they sent us a photo of their dinner. I counted extra bowls and chopsticks and when we asked them about it, they said they set places for us. It was really touching. This was the first year T hadn't been with his family for the holiday. Hopefully next year we'll be there!

How did you celebrate your big holiday this year?

P.S. Chinese New Year 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

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