Kung hei fat choy! This is Chinese for Happy New Year!
This year, the Chinese New Year fell on Monday, January 23, marking the beginning of the year of the dragon.
According to a number of online articles, the Year of the Dragon, holds special significance and is said to be the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac.
Raymond and Connie Yu, who own and operate RCs Chinese Restaurant in Coronach, began their celebrations by hosting their yearly Chinese New Year Smorg.
The all-you-can-eat smorg was held all day Sunday, January 22, one day before the Chinese New Year.
Raymond reported a busy day and said, “Thank you to everybody for coming for Chinese New Year Celebrations!”
For New Year’s Day, the couple traveled to Saskatoon to spend the day with their children and Raymond’s parents, who all live in Saskatoon.
RCs was closed for two days so the couple could enjoy time in Saskatoon with family. Raymond and Connie and family went out for a big supper with their family.
In an interview in 2008, Connie explained some of the traditions of the Chinese New Year.
She explained that in China the New Year is their most important celebration. In the Chinese culture, they do not celebrate Christmas. In China, in recognition of the New Year, workers would enjoy a week’s holiday from work and children would have a two week vacation from school.
Much like the Christmas gifts that many Canadian families exchange, the Chinese have a tradition that surrounds a small red envelope called a Lai-See.
The Lai-See envelope is given to all young people from the time of their birth until they become married. Once married, chinese couples then, in turn give out the envelopes.
The envelopes are given by married couples to everyone of their friends and family who are not married. The envelopes contain money. The amount of money contained in the envelopes will vary according to the relationship you have with the single person.
Grandparents may give their grandchildren $10; while neighbours may only put $1 in the envelope.
Connie explained that most children receive around $1000 on the Chinese New Year.
Children are allowed to spend the money as they wish but Connie explained that parents of small children would save the money in a bank account in the name of the child.
This was a special year for the Yus, having spent a month in March in China, the first trip in 10 years.
The couple traveled to Kowloon, China where they stayed with Raymond’s sister. From her home, the couple traveled around and visited with relatives of Connies’ as well as her friends from high school.
The couple chuckled as they talked about spending from 8 a.m. till midnight or 1 a.m. out in the streets visiting, eating and shopping.
The Yus moved to Canada from Hong Kong in 1981 and have operated restaurants in Landis, Saskatoon and Coronach.
Their children, Roland, who was born in 1984 and Carol, 1986, attended Coronach School until 1994. The family then moved to Saskatoon where the children finished school.
Raymond and Connie returned to Coronach in 2001 to reopen RCs.
The children have since finished secondary school and are employed in Saskatoon. Carol works for the University Hospital and Roland with Honda.