Hello! In case you don’t know, it’s the Luna new year! Happy pig’s year everybody!
I’m celebrating the Chinese new year a little since I’m Chinese, but there isn’t much going on since I live in Seattle. Anyway, here are some differences in our holiday cultures.
Everything on a Chinese dining table is related to food. It’s important we don’t let anything get in the way between our food and chopsticks.
On the other hand, the decoration is part of the meal in America. You can’t eat it, of course, but you get satisfaction by looking at it while having the limited food served.
In China, the more people at the party, the more dishes you get. Normally it’s one course per person, adding a soup. But for holiday meals we overkill it with over 20 varieties of dishes for a large family meal. Yes, it’s exhausting for the hosts, but a feast for the guests!
The first time I was invited to an American dinner party, I was expecting to experience the entire catalog of the fine western cuisine. I was shocked. I thought for a long time that the host hated me until I learned that it’s normal for American parties.
In China, it’s not a tradition to give gifts in holidays. We bring something when we visit the elderly’s to show respect, and we give younger generation money.
I was shocked at how many gifts were exchanged in one family at my first American Christmas.
Giving a gift in China is a big deal, so it has to be valuable, useful or special. Nobody cares how they are wrapped as long as it’s something nice. I mean, you get extra kudos by wrapping it well but not when the gift itself sucks.
Also, the receiver of a gift would refuse it for a few times, only accept it when you insist upon it. And don’t expect they will act excited, even they like it very much.
In America, don’t judge a gift by its cover. Also, no matter what you get, act like it’s the crown’s jewel from the queen of England. It takes practice, but you will get there.