Chinese New Year: Feast of fortune is their hope

28 Jan, 2011 04:00 AM

Small celebration: With all their relatives overseas, the Tam family likes to spend Chinese New Year with each other. (Pictured from left): Gavin, Calvin, Cheuk, Queeny and Nelvin Tam. Picture: Lisa McMahon

FOR the Tam family of Bexley, small is better when itcomes to celebrating Chinese New Year.

Since all their extended family live in HongKong,

their focus is to spend it together.

Cheuk and Queeny Tammigrated to Australia 21

years ago, passing on their traditional customs to their

sons Nelvin, 20, Calvin, 18 and Gavin, 16.

‘‘When my brothers and I went to Chinese school we

would hear ancient stories and receive fake money,’’

Gavin said.

‘‘At home,we always talk [by phone] to our relatives

overseas, chant traditional phrases, and receive red

envelopes with real money from our parents.’’

The Chinese New Year is on the first day of the first

month in the lunar calendar, this year on February 3.

Before their holiday begins, the Chinese like to make

way for good luck by following customs, including

cleaning up the house and feasting with families.

In the Tamhousehold, Queeny cooks the family

dinner to be eaten on New Year’s Eve followed by

plenty of sweets.

‘‘It is a really big meal that includes prawns to

symbolise a happy new year and candy for good

fortune,’’Gavin said.

‘‘We chant phrases during dinner using the Chinese

zodiac to wish each other the best of luck and a

prosperous new year.’’

For Cheuk Tam, working as a Qantas aircraft

engineer means sometimes he can’t have the day off to

spend with the family.

But if that is the case, his workmates are always in

for a treat.

‘‘I bring in a box of sweets to share if I have to work,’’

he said. ‘‘We can spend up to four days celebrating the

new year, but if I have to go to work

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