Saturday, January 22, 2011

Your Two Cents: What do you do at your family get-togethers???

As you all know, next week (February 2nd) is Lunar New Years in Korea...and many other Asian countries! This is HUGE in Korea. It falls within the TOP TWO holidays in Korea. This is similar to Chuseok where everybody goes to visit their parents/family and eat LOTS and LOTS (and LOTS and LOTS) of good food for pretty much 3-5 days straight. This week, we have an EXTRA long holiday because Lunar New Years falls on a Wednesday. So Many people get the rest of the week off. Some even get the day or two before it off as well. Lucky bums. Hehe

ANYWAYS, I don't know how many of our listeners celebrate the Lunar New Year, but I thought this would be a good question to throw at you guys:

How often do you have BIG family get togethers (with ALL your extended family members)? And if you do have them, what do you traditionally do at them? If you say eat and play games, I want you to be specific. What kinds of foods do you eat? What kinds of games?

I'm Korean, but I grew up in America, but out of all the states, I grew up in Hawaii. So the types of food I grew up eating is just about as FUSED as you can get. So I'm curious what types of foods other people are used to. :)

Answer away, and be sure to tune into KPI next Sunday!


  1. Haiz, Angie I'm not really blessed with a big family and my cousins and their families are usually busy with their own Lunar New Year preparations so I usually spend the Lunar New Year and the Eve with my parents only. Well, in Singapore since the Chinese are the main majority celebrating the Lunar New Year, it's normally known as Chinese New Year instead.

    For me, although I spend my Lunar New Year with my parents, I still find it a warm and affectionate affair. Unlike big families who might reserve a table or two at a Chinese restaurant, my dad and I prefer having a round-table meal at home. On the eve, I think we would have hot-pot. Since Chinese New Year emphasizes reunion, and the word "reunion" in Chinese sounds like the word for "round", the hot-pot is quite significant. Over dinner, we would eat slower then usual, discussing stuff about the approaching year and which family we would be visiting early on the morning of the first day of Chinese New Year.

    After dinner, we would sit down in front of the television to watch the Chinese New Year special variety program that airs. As for games, I don't think I've really discovered any games tied to the Chinese New Year.

    I would really appreciate it if Angie, you and DJ Young would enlighten the rest of us in detail about the Lunar New Year festivities in Korea since I'm learning Korean now and I also make it a point to get to know the culture too. Thanks a lot ;D


  2. Family reunion dinners held in Chinese restaurants tend to be eight course meals for tables of ten persons. So my small family has paired up with another small family to make up a table.

    Typical menus include steamed fish, roast chicken, steamed prawns, roast suckling pig,and yee sang.

    The latter is a salad dish which looks like bibimbap without the rice. The custom is for everyone to toss and mix the salad with chopsticks while making wishes for the new year. "Yee sang" also has plum sauce, slices of raw salmon, lemon juice and lots of julienned carrots, turnips, cucumbers, etc.

    These days it's even sold before the Lunar New Year starts! Have had it twice already!

    Here's wishing all who celebrate, a Happy Chinese New Year, Spring Festival ( Chun jie) or Seollal!


  3. Hi Angie,

    As always, I will celebrate my Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year "CNY") at my dad's hometown where all relatives and other family members will meet. My dad has 9 siblings and all have at least 3 children plus some were married with kids so you can say it is a very BIG family i have.

    All of us will be back to my grandparents home and will prepare dishes for prayers to the ancestor on the eve of CNY. At night, we will have a Round table family dinner (of course us children will be have another round table as there is no space for us sitting with the aduits). After dinner, we will play cards and kids will be playing fire crackers.

    On CNY day, we will wake up early to prepare ourselves for ANG PAO (Red packet with Money inside)given by the elders and also those who are Married. We'll wear nice red dress took photos and proceed to relatives home to pay them a visit. From the 1st day of CNY to 15th of CNY you'll hear and see Lion Dance to perform at each houses too.

    That's how I have my BIG family get-together especially during this Big festive season here in Sabah, Malaysia.

    Michelle Lim aka Michie

  4. Hi Angie,

    Lunar New Years isn't a big thing here in Canada compared to other parts of the world, like Korea and China for instance (but I've noticed that its progressively getting recognized by non-asians).

    When LNY doesn't fall on a weekend, chances are we have school and work (no holiday for!) but we do end up celebrating during the weekend. Usually we have family get togethers where we make snacks, cakes and have a festive dinner with all the delicious dishes that we don't usually get to eat on a daily bases. My family + extended family that live here tend to see each other every weekend (or every second weekend) at church. So LNY is just a day where we are more dressed up and in most cases - the cousins are nicer to each other (less bullying).

    We usually get red pockets for good luck and prosperity and sometimes we visit family friends (or they come and visit us).

    There are performances at our local church and lion dances and lantern displays in malls.

  5. Hi Angie Noona! My whole family never really gets together for anything, We all live far away from each other. When I lived in Minnesota I woud go to my Grandma's house for thanksgiving, and..... thats about it. (Ah, Minnesota is so beautiful, I wish I could go back...) But I have 5 siblings, so on Christmas we eat lots of food (This year we had Italian beef Wellington and pierogies- a Polish dumpling) I am Italian, Polish and Czech (Plus a couple other things) and we play a European (My mom says its Italian, My dad says its Czech) called Tarock. Its really fun. We just sit around, cook, eat, and play games, its really fun and relaxing.

    P.S. where should I post a pic of myself?
    Isaac Semrad. USA.

  6. Hey Angie,

    I know I'm too late for the show, but I really wanted to answer this one. I just got done with a horrible week at work though.
    Anyways, whenever we have family get-togethers, we usually eat a lot, typical Filipino family. If it's an older person's birthday, us kids and grandkids might perform for them. We usually also make fun of one of my cousin's babo-ness. And we finish the party off with a game, usually Phase 10, the most addictive card game ever! Sophie and I first played it in Korea when another teacher brought it over from America.
    When we were in Korea, mom would always cook a lot of delicious food and they'd always make me eat a lot. We would watch a drama or 1 Night 2 Days also. We'd also finish off with a game, Go Stop or Phase 10 (We got Sophie's sisters addicted to the game.)

    Thanks and God Bless,

    Paul T.

  7. Hi Angie,

    I am a Korean-American living in Illinois, and this year we celebrated with snow. Within 24-hours, we got over 15 inches of snow two days before the Lunar New Year.

    This is the first time we've celebrated Lunar New Year, so we had been planning to make Bulgogi (everyone in my family's favourite food) with our Halmeoni's family recipe. Unfortunately, we were out of soy sauce, so I ran to the store to buy some. We were suprised to see that the grocery store was sold out of meat! It seems that everyone had decided to stock up before the blizzard hit, so we ended up using pork chops in our Bulgogi instead.

    So we celebrated with a makeshift, traditional Korean dinner, and then by going to dig out neighbors' driveways.

    Hope you had a lovely Lunar New Year,