We rely on food every day. The notion of “Food is the first thing for people,” is the most significant and essential idea in Chinese civilization life. According to the lunar calendar of 2016, we are celebrating the Year of the Monkey today.
We are delighted to join our families and friends both old and new, on the evening for the celebration of discarding old and brining in new, and celebrating coming of new things. It’s a great time and probably the only time to families for reuniting together and eating feast. Hence, you can know why the biggest human migration on earth called “Chunyun” or “spring rush” happens each year in China. Perhaps most Americans cannot image the scene how 2.9 billion trips are made in 40-day period between provinces and cities, but it happens in my country. Anyway, family means home. It’s time to come home.
However, I hasn’t come home for the celebration since 5 years ago, and the worst is that the enthusiasm, feelings and memory about the reunion with family has gradually gone from my body. Only one thing, a clear memory, is my grandmother’s cooking. In my childhood and adolescence, the only thing I expected in every Eve is her cooking, and she always cooked a full table of delicious dishes to welcome us. Now, she has passed away couple years. I miss her cooking and of course I miss my whole family very much. Hence I tried many times to cook alone or with friends in the U.S., but the memory, taste and feelings cannot be duplicated, totally and forever.
This is a video named “Chopsticks” in translation produced by CCTV, is a public service advertising that shows how food and dishes play their important role to getting Chinese families’ relationship closer.
The New Year’s Eve dinner, also called “Happiness of the Reunion,” is considered as the important family banquet. Before the midnight, we need to make dumplings with different fillings, such as chive with eggs and pork with cabbage, we eat dumplings at the midnight in the New Year’s Eve, and it symbolizes start of the Spring Festival. When look at dumplings, you will find the shape of the dumpling looks like gold ingot from ancient China, which is another implied meaning – brining in wealth and treasure.
For the southerners, instead of making and eating dumplings, they would love to have Nian Gao in the Eve. Its implied meaning is to wish every family member and friend’s life to be better than the last year.
Our enthusiasm on cooking Chinese New Year Eve food is just same as yours on watching the Super Bowl right now. I’m glad that it happens in the same time, so I probably can invite my American friends to watch the Super Bowl together and, enjoy the feast tonight!