Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seasonal Celebration---Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is coming up on February 10th this year.  

Growing up, I remember my mom would get ready for Kyu Shougatsu (lunar calender New Year) by sending special package to family in Okinawa. It dawned on me this week, that Kyu Shougatsu and Chinese New Year is the same thing!

Both of my parents are from Okinawa. (they started a new life in Osaka when they got married. Osaka is where I was raised.) Okinawa is a southern part of Japan, and has a distinct culture of its own. (think of Hawaii...) I didn't pay much attention then, but I understand now that my parents celebrated 2 cultures every year, just like I'm trying to celebrate Japanese traditions in Canada.

My mom said it's 28 degrees in Okinawa. She took this picture of a butterfly for my girls to see. 

Do you have a similar experience?  Maybe it's similar to someone celebrating both Canadian and American Thanksgiving. (it's about a month apart, right?) My husband said this...

I just think that eventually you need to let certain holidays go.  For example if you have 16 Great Grandparents from 16 different cultures you would probably be celebrating something just about every day. J

I have nothing against remembering culture, but there needs to be limits to how much time we spend in celebration.

India, for example has over 16000 religions with literally millions of dieties and each one comes with its own festivals.  Families basically just have to pick and choose which ones they want to celebrate the most.

Well, it's a good point. It seems like we are celebrating family birthdays every month beside holidays. Kids look forward to it, though, and I think it's important that they understand family history. It's a great opportunity for me to research, too. Every year it gets more fun as kids get older and understand more about culture, and get involved in activities. But as I said, when I saw "Chinese New Year" on the calender, I didn't make that connection that it has been celebrated in some parts of Japan as well. We haven't planned anything special for it, I only thought of it because now my parents live in Okinawa. It's been exactly a year since they moved there.

I look forward to going to visit them in Okinawa in the near future. It's going to be fun if I know more about the culture.

(added on Feb 9)--- we had a couple over for dinner tonight. The wife is Japanese, and her husband is a Canadian, just like us. We didn't plan it because this was Chinese New Year weekend, but we had a very good time. Making note to myself to maybe make it a tradition.


  1. Hey Kozue, I think the lunar new year is celebrated across all Asian cultures. It's pretty neat how there are different names for it. But certainly it's the same festival. My Korean sister-in-law celebrates the lunar new year with her family as well.

    I don't know what exactly I feel about Luke's comment. Although he's right in that families need to pick and choose the holidays that they wish to celebrate, I hope it doesn't diminish the need to acknowledge one's roots and heritage. The lunar year celebration was HUGE in my family. Although my other Chinese friends didn't follow the traditions while growing up in Canada, I'm grateful that my parents taught me those things. It wasn't until I was much older that I realize what a great gift they gave me -- now I can pass those traditions on to my own kids.

    Knowing these traditions and cultures (although only symbolic acts), gives me a sense of identity -- it's what makes me Asian, and I'm proud of it.

  2. Thank you for the comment! I hope when my kids grow up, they would feel that I've done my job to teach them as much as I could! Luke was just saying that because he thinks I spent too much time writing about it :) Haha. He probably thought I will find some reasons to celebrate everyday to write about it; I'm having too much fun on here :)I'm glad that you took time to read it . Thank you!