With the passing of the older generation, traditional festivals like Chinese New Year (CNY) are becoming harder to sustain. The once-a-year visits to relatives’ homes will be hard to continue: when my child was younger, the “incentive” came in the form of hongbaos she could get, but now that she’s a young adult, this has diminished.
Having been young once, I can understand the dread CNY raises in younger generation Chinese. Most of the older folk possessed few social graces, so the only conversations they could maintain were exam results, marital status and when will there be a baby. Young people need to learn how to hold a conversation with strangers, for those are what most of these relatives are.
Family gatherings must continue – why else have relatives? Now that my mother has passed, we no longer have the CNY lunch at her home. I always chatted with my young newphs and nieces about their hopes and dreams on these occasions. I showed a real interest in their lives. I’ve organised instead a dinner at my eldest brother’s home since mum died. I think I’m going to give the younger a lecture this time why we should continue this “tradition” at least once a year. How else are we going to keep in touch?