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2011/02/17 / Horace

My Spring Festival

The 503th issue of China Newsweek focuses on the Spring Festival or the Chinese Lunar New Year, the most important festival in China. The reports focus on family reunions and the local identity and solidarity shown during the celebrations. Despite the happiness flowing everywhere in China, I really do not enjoy the festival.

The Spring Festival is the only time that the whole kin could get together in a year. Every year, my uncles and aunts and their family would get together and have a big dinner, which has become a routine and only a routine.

During the family re-union, different branches of the family would of course ask each other a few questions about their current situations and say something complimentary. There could be a few hours before the preparation of the dinner, and we start to talk about everything. It is usually pleasant to talk with my peers, but when talking with my uncles and aunts, things become totally different. I really do not like to hear their remarks on my academic achievements or my future career design. They are not saying that I am to fail, but they do make me uncomfortable in some way.

After that, we prepare the dinner together, and then we eat. Stimulated by alcohol, people would speak in a implicitly cynical way and make the victim very uncomfortable. There is always someone or some people showing off what are not good showcases. There is also a routine that we shall never miss. Drunk, one of my aunts would cry over something. She always cries very very sadly and falls into disputes with her husband or someone else. That’s the climax of the family reunion and then comes the resolution-the dismissal of the whole dinner and everyone going home.

The only one who is still enjoying the family reunion is my grandmother. Although she thinks the aunt’s cry spoils the family reunion every time, she is still glad to see the whole family sitting together, and once she told me that there would be no reunion after she passes away. I believe so. Even with the presence of the oldest figure in the family, I could hardly see any trace of solidary or feel any sense of ‘a big family’, let alone when my grandmother passes away.

My grandmother is now very healthy and the routine of the reunion would still last for 10, 20 or 30 years, but the reunion means no ‘kinship identity’ or something like that to me. It’s just a routine.

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