FYI, the CNY for 2010 falls on 14th February (coincides with Valentines' Day) and will last for 15 days.
I've just started decorating the house, sticking up some empty red packets (we called it 'Ang Pow') around the house for the CNY preparations.
Just a bit of a quick summary on the Chinese customs of giving red packets:
* Mainly presented at social and family gatherings such as weddings or on festivities such as the CNY.
* Tpically given to the unmarried by the married.
* It is traditional to put brand new notes inside red envelopes.
So, because it is typically given by the married to the singles (adults and children), I've been giving and giving and giving red packets and not getting anything in return!!!
But this year, I am getting back some of those money, all thanks to Benjamin! Yessssssssss!!! :D
From this year onwards, other parents & married couples will now have to give our child red packets as well! Muahahahahahahaha... (*evil laugh again*)
OK, ok, before you go on thinking I am money-minded, please note that, all this red packets giving has been a customary thing for Chinese, and I am just feeling excited thinking that from this year onwards, I can see people giving my own child red packets! And it's a wonderful thought! :D
Of course, we are going to bank in all the money we got from Ben's red packets into his own savings account (he currently has more money than my 1st proper IT job pay! :P)
You know, when I was younger, I used to look forward to CNY time because that's when I get to help my mum put in the brand new notes into each red packets, I would be counting each dollar notes, making sure I counted it correctly and then I would fold the dollar notes nicely before slotting it into each red packets, sealing it with the self-adhesive stickers and then passing it back to my mum. It made me feel like an adult, handling all those dollar notes and red packets! :D
And then, on the 2nd day of CNY, I'd followed my mum back to her hometown to celebrate the CNY with her mother (my granny) and her brother's family and the rest of her siblings (few aunts and uncles) will all return back to my granny's house and meet up for a big family reunion. Of course, us kids were the happiest lot at that time... cos we get to receive all those red packets and play with fire crackers!! :D
Now, fast forward years from then on... it's been 3 years I'm preparing the dollar notes and the red packets myself... Ever since my mum passed away on 11th January 2007, I've also not been going back to my mum's hometown... its as if there's no point going back there since there's nothing left there... (my granny passed away in 2004) and the big family reunion has now shifted to my eldest aunt's house instead.
Anyway, coming back to present time . Now, CNY is not just about giving and receiving red packets. It's also about family reunion and getting in touch with your relatives and friends. So for this year 2010... it will be my 1st year as a parent. I hope I can create lots of nice memories for Benjamin to cherish when he's older to understand all this :)