This weekend we celebrated Chinese New Year (the Year of the Snake officially began yesterday) with a special dinner together as a family, and this year it really felt as if we have fully embraced making this holiday a true family tradition.
Since I did not grow up in a household that celebrated this holiday, I don’t have the experience of personal family traditions to lean on when planning my own celebration of this important holiday. But I knew that I didn’t want our family’s observance of this holiday to be limited only to events held by our local Chinese language school or other Chinese-American groups.
These parties are great, and our family really enjoys them—but making these parties the center of our family’s celebration would be like making the office holiday party the center of your family’s Christmas festivities.
I also knew that I didn’t want to celebrate this holiday by ordering in food from the local Chinese restaurant—although the meal would be delicious—I am not the type to carry-out my Thanksgiving turkey or my Easter ham either.
I knew that for this to feel like a real family celebration at our house, that I needed to learn to cook some (semi)-authentic Chinese dishes and create our own family Chinese New Year’s traditions. So after a few years of trial and error, we finally have a menu, decorations, and annual traditions that feel as if they are our own.