Chinese New Year Prayer Set

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Dedication to 观音娘娘/Goddess of Mercy
Dedication to 观音娘娘/Goddess of Mercy

I have never had a perfect picture family. However, every year I could count on Chinese New Year to connect and bond us all. It was a day without arguments because it was the start of our new year together. Most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins from my dad's side came to my grandma's early in the morning and I watched as many prayed to the burning incense sticks. Afterwards, the adults drank rice wine from cups. As a child, I imitated them and joined in with their prayers. I never actually prayed for anything because I didn't understand why we made these motions. Additionally I didn't realize how important this day was, when I was younger, but I do now. My family isn't religious and this is the one day I'm connected to my religion. The smell of burning paper reminds me of my childhood because we have always burnt joss paper as a way to respect our gods/goddesses and ancestors. The last time I have been to China was when I was about 2. I rarely talk to my family in China and I have not seen many of my relatives for a long time. So, no matter where my relatives may be I feel close to them every year because we're all doing these traditions. As I grow older, I realize that Chinese New Year isn't about the red envelopes we get or all the food we enjoy. It is a day meant to connect to our family and show our gratitude to the things surrounding us. I realize as I grow up, I'll be doing this with the future generations of my family just like my grandma did for me. I'll be passing on traditions that have helped shape who I am today. 

Place(s): China and New York
Year: 2003

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant