Shirls Wong shares her thoughts on Chinese New Year

By Shirls Wong, 20 February 2018 , Comments

Last week celebrations kicked off around the world to mark Chinese New Year.

To learn more about the festivities, we spoke to Northcott customer and staff member Shirls Wong – who works as an Advisor for Inclusive Practice – to find out why Chinese New Year is such a great celebration for her and her family.

“Many Australians celebrate Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. It marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar. In Cantonese people say ‘kung hei fat choi’ which means ‘wishing you great happiness and prosperity’ or basically ‘wishing you a happy new year’. The celebration of the Chinese New Year lasts 15 days and in the Chinese zodiac, every year is represented by one of twelve animals – 2018 is the year of the dog.

The great thing about Chinese New Year is that it’s a time for families to be together and enjoy family time. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. Last New Year I was lucky to be in China and got to spend time with my grandma, my uncle, and my cousin Ivy, who I hadn’t seen since she moved to Florida many years ago. We also stopped in Hong Kong to catch up with relatives who live there.

Food is a big part of New Year. My family and I have this savoury turnip cake (lo bak go), which is served as a very traditional dish. Turnip cake always shows up on the table and we eat it for breakfast on New Year’s Day.

Even though I can’t read and write in Chinese, my understanding in Cantonese is very good, however it took some time. I can understand and know what my family and relatives are saying. Sometimes some words can be hard to understand but eventually I get it.

Here are some fun facts that make me proud of my Chinese heritage:

  • China is getting stronger, and a stronger economy and improved technology is helping to raise the living standards for millions of people.
  • China has a long history with very strong traditions and culture.
  • People always try their best to return home for a family reunion on Chinese New Year.
  • The Chinese writing runs from top to bottom in little symbols or signs, called ‘characters’, of which an adult usually knows about 8,000 different characters.
  • We love tasty food! Especially with very fresh ingredients.


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