Kiwi style Chinese New Year

By Ilona Hanne

Local business owner Yunyan Wang comes from Mainland China, but for nearly three years has lived in Stratford where she runs the Urban Attitude cafe in town with her husband.

As her family celebrate the Chinese New Year, Yunyan talks to the Stratford Press about what it means to her and how she celebrates the festival so far away from home.

Each area of China has its own New Year traditions and Yunyan comes from a large city, Chengdu, which is in the Sichuan province.

"As a child, it was all about the fireworks and the red pocket money," she laughs.

In the region she comes from it is traditional for parents and grandparents to give the children money contained in red envelopes or "pockets" which the children use to buy, among other things, fireworks to let off during the festival.

Yunyan and her husband, Jumming Ma, closed their cafe for the start of the Chinese New Year.

"On the first day of the New Year, we don't do business, all shops close."

The young couple visited other Chinese friends in New Plymouth, merging their traditions.

With five hours between New Zealand and China in time difference, Yunyan says that they stay up late so that they can then watch a special television show that is always part of the celebrations in China.

"We have it on satellite, translated it is called 'Spring festival gala evening' and we watch that, then we also call our families back in China."

With the group of friends coming from all over China, Yunyan says that they all speak different dialects when calling home "so we don't all understand what each other are telling their families".

Chinese New Year celebrations finish this weekend and Yunyan says that this time of year always leaves her feeling "a little bit homesick". However, she enjoys her new life in Stratford and hopes her family will come and visit her in New Zealand soon.

Do you and your family come from a different culture and have traditions you would like to share with readers? Please contact us and let us know.

- Stratford Press

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