Letters from the dorm: Sharing the fun of the festival

Elaine Leung, Talbot Heath School, England
Elaine Leung, Talbot Heath School, England |

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Kung hei fat choi! Happy Lunar New Year! I wish everyone a cheerful and prosperous year.

Although I haven't been able to spend my favourite festival in Hong Kong during the past four years, I organise something at my school in England each year to share the excitement with others who do not quite understand the tradition.

In the first year, I gave my teachers and classmates red packets. No, I was not trying to bribe the teachers - I put chocolate coins, instead of money, in the packets.

I explained to others how we normally receive red packets with lucky money from our seniors during the festival. Not surprisingly, my classmates were very envious of the financial gifts. They were also intrigued by the idea that different companies or organisations distribute their own versions of red envelopes.

In the second year, I gave a talk on Lunar New Year during an assembly. We held a mini fun fair for the junior school as a part of their cultural education.

At the event, junior students had a chance to try some authentic new year snacks such as "little horns" - deep-fried, crunchy, pleated pastry filled with sweetened ground peanuts and toasted sesame seeds - and deep-fried "laughing sesame ball cookies" (the cracked cookie looks like a laughing head). They were more amused by the names of the snacks than their taste.

Last year, I made a candy tray out of red envelopes and filled it with a variety of sweets and chocolates. I also wore a blue, embroidered silk jacket. Needless to say, my tray was empty by late morning.

This time, I brought over some traditional clothing for my English friends. We can all dress up and go for a meal in a Chinese restaurant and celebrate my favourite festival.