Traditionally, it signifies a New Year for the Chinese. As with all other major festivals like Christmas, Muslim New Year, etc..family members gather and spend time with each other. Especially for those who's been away from home, festive season is a meaningful time for the family to get together.
I come from a rather small family. We don't need to travel back to our home town as our grandparents were already in town and had passed away when we were quite young. Hence, CNY had not been a great deal as some other bigger families. However, my dear Mom had done a great job in 'training' us the do's and don'ts on CNY.
Year in year out, without fail she will bring us along to visit our elder relatives. Not the most exciting event..especially when relatives asked questions like..our exam results - when were kids. And then..as we grow older..they ask about our job and how much we earn. And then...moving on to our love life. Duh..
And yet..our Mom made sure we tagged along each time, regardless of whether it's her own siblings or my father's. My father, on the other hand, didn't really care. We didn't have any car then, so we will take the buses or taxis. I think I tried Once, only once, refusing to go. Woah...was she MAD! At that time, I didn't understand why she became so mad. But, I never dared to suggest the idea of not going again.
Now that she's no longer around, for the last 20 years or so, the tradition continues. The elder relatives, my mom's siblings have gotten much older, my eldest aunt and uncle has past 80. The younger uncle is very sick. My youngest aunt who is almost 70 (I think) the one closest to my mom and us, will come without fail, every first day of CNY, and we will troop to other houses together with my brother and his kids.
Like I said, it's not the most exciting event but it's just one day in a year. We see each other. Exchange the usual words. Have a meal together. Meet the cousins, bla bla. For the closer ones, we try to meet more than once a year, of course. It's also a good time for the younger generation to meet each other too. It's a joy to see the kids enjoying their ang pow collecting, and playing with different toys at different home. Hopefully they will continue the tradition when they grow up....
Hopefully, my nephews and niece will come and visit me when I'm 80..
It's up to us to instill the mindset while they are young...
Oh ya..besides family, CNY is also a good time to catch up with old friends. Again, the usual exchange of words...
..how are your kids? How old?
..who's not married yet?
In the recent years, some new questions had popped up eg who's divorced?!
Oh dear..not a nice topic..but female being female..we like Gossips :P