How I celebrate traditional holidays and festivals in the UK
My time here has allowed me to try out things I’ve never had the chance to do in the city.
Being away from home, the one thing I miss the most and find the hardest to cope without is the food. So, from time to time, I make up excuses to treat myself with food from home by celebrating all the Chinese festivals I have in mind. Plus they usually turn out to be the best evenings for everyone to gather around over nice food and drinks, sharing cultures.
Mid-Autumn Festivals were not always spent in England but, for the times they were, I would always bring mooncakes back from home or buy them from Chinese city supermarkets before coming back to Falmouth. Since it always happens either before or during the early weeks of the first study block, it would normally be a laid back evening sharing mooncakes with one or two friends, sitting somewhere outdoors (usually by the harbour), while enjoying the view of the full moon. If I had more time I would've even decorated my house with some paper lanterns and some fun riddles. These nights are the nights when deep conversations occur, we share our aspirations in life, current struggles, and different experiences, etc. I personally really appreciate meaningful talks every now and then, I think they helped me overcome my own difficulties a lot.
This might not be a common one to celebrate, at least it wasn't for me when I was in Macau as I recalled, but I celebrated it in England last year anyway. My flatmates and I had a fancy two-course dinner with our landlords who live with us, with homemade dumplings for main course and homemade Tang Yuan (glutinous rice balls) for desert.
- Frozen dumplings can be bought in The Corner Store, both with meat and veggies.
- If want to make from scratch, all the ingredients needed are available in any supermarkets.
- All ingredients are available in The Corner Shop by the Phoenix Cinema.
Chinese New Year
When it comes to Chinese New Year, the most important time of the year, I would always host big dinner parties at my house for everyone to enjoy (everyone has to wear red of course, otherwise they are uninvited) and invite them to make dumplings altogether. Dumplings are the crowd pleaser to be fair! It is always interesting to see different folding techniques coming from everyone, some I would say are really innovative, and some even made like mini pasties. On top of this, I would also have hot pot on the side to make it less monotonous. Not all the food was loved by people equally, but it was definitely interesting to see everyone's reaction trying new food that they perhaps wouldn't usually get to try. For this coming new year, though it might not be as lively as previous years due to COVID-19, I am still pretty thrilled to spend it with my flat. Besides, this could be a good opportunity for us to take our mind off of the current difficulties we are all facing. If you're interested in making hotpot for yourself, you'll be able to find all of the ingredients at The Corner Shop.
Dragon Boat Festival
I have not yet celebrated this in England properly, since I find making Zong Zi (sticky rice dumplings) too much of a fuss. However this is a challenge I'm willing to take on for 2021 perhaps!
- Almost all ingredients can be found in any supermarkets, the Corner Shop, and the Natural Store. You might need to order bamboo leaves online.
Obviously, I celebrate these festivals in the way I find appropriate. It might not follow the traditions strictly, but I've definitely made the most memorable moments celebrating them in my own way. For me, the most important part of festivals and holidays is to be able to spend quality time together with people we love and to have fun. So be creative! You would be surprised how many people love to learn about your traditions and culture!