The morning breaks and the children are eager to get up from the bed. They rushes to the bedside of their parents and greets them “Gong Xi Fa Cai “. They further gesture their palms facing up right and smile. The barely awaken mother gets up and hands them the red packet, also known as “ang pau”.
Welcome to “Chinese New Year“
Chinese Near Year is just around the corner. It has been a norm for many Chinese families to do household spring cleaning before we greet the beginning of the Spring Festival. It is also customary during this festive season that all the young sibling visits the elder ones/relatives. It is a sign of respect. Children will collect the “ang paus” from the married ones. I have been enjoying this luxury for 28 years, and still am proud to be in the receiving chain. However, I no longer stalk my parents for the red packets at wee hours. Imagine the horror of my mother if I should this year, greet my mother, next to her bedside with my pjs and with a chirpy “Gong Xi Fa Cai ” !
Each passing year, my mother will do the house cleaning with no fail. This year, has been exceptionally exceptional. We painted the house. Bought new curtains. Even the shoe cabinets were cleared and dust to germ-free. During the heavy cleaning, I looked at my mom and said, “Mah .. who is coming to our home, this year ? Are we expecting guests ? ” “Aiyah ….why you ask such silly question ? Every year, we go to Big Aunty house mah ..” she answered the Malaysian way. Having said that, I then further questioned her .. who will appreciate the new paint, the new curtains ? It then suddenly hit her when she answered “No one”, simply because both my parents are the youngest one in the family and it is customary that the young ones pay respect to the elder ones in the family.
Why do we still uphold the tradition of spring cleaning during the festive season ? Does it serve a purpose ? Am I the only one “suffering” in this regime tradition of spring cleaning ?