It's the first day of the Chinese New Year and my in-laws have gifted us with some fai chun and New Year cakes. Every year, they gift us new fai chun, which is quite a nice tradition. For the past three years, we've also been going over to their place to make fai chun for ourselves.
DIY fai chun are quite a nice activity to partake in…especially because I've been learning Cantonese and can now recognize a few Chinese characters. We received one DIY fai chun (pictured above, which hangs on our front door), which says something to the effect of: Wishing You Great Amounts of Luck and Fortune This Year.
One of our gifted fai chun. It says something to the effect of: Congratulations! It's a New Year!
Our second gifted fai chun, which says something to the effect of: Hoping Everything Goes Well for You This Coming New Year!
Fai chun are traditional decorations that mostly come on red strips of paper. They carry phrases of good luck, prosperity, health, etc. And they usually are given to people during the Chinese New Year. The two we got this year are stuck to our television (because it needed a more festive vibe!), where people can see then when they drop by over the Chinese New Year holiday…WHICH IS ANOTHER thing that I LOVE about this time of year.
SIDEBAR: During the Chinese New Year, people travel around Hong Kong and visit family and friends. It's sort of like a mini migration over the holiday. I feel like it's a great way to see people that you haven't seen for a year…because life gets pretty busy. It's nice when we visit friends and when they come to visit us. It's a really great time to catch up.
Around Yuen Long town, there are people set up outside of some offices and even the wet market who are writing fai chun for the public. There are also people who are selling handmade fai chun as a mini business around town. It seems like popular pit stops for a lot of people as they are shopping for food, last minute red pockets, and New Year gifts.
A friend said that this time of year is similar to Thanksgiving…I sort of think it is a combination of Christmas and Thanksgiving…two holidays in one. The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days, but most of us get the first three days off of work…which, if counting in the weekend, was a nice 5 days break.
Just walking the streets, grocery shopping, and spending time outside…I can totally feel a vibe of excitement in the year. Everyone is just buzzing with happiness over this new Year of the Monkey!