Bill, Ada, Kevin and Rihanna Sun will have a quiet celebration on Friday evening, Jan. 24 to mark the beginning of the Chinese New Year. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Chinese New Year brings subdued celebrations in Salmon Arm

Local family to mark the start of the New Year but will be missing family in China

A day of celebration was mixed with a sprinkling of sadness at the Royal Wok in Salmon Arm on Jan. 24.

Chinese New Year, also referred to as the Lunar New Year, falls on Saturday, Jan. 25 this year, the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar.

Kevin and Ada Sun took a few moments at their busy restaurant Friday to talk about the significant event.

Although members of their extended family came from China last year to celebrate together, this year, they’re on their own with their two children, Bill and Rihanna.

Their plan was to close the restaurant a little earlier than normal so they could have a special dinner at home, as they’ll be working Saturday on the actual first day of the new year. But before their dinner was to be a tradition that makes Bill and Rihanna’s eyes light up.

Relatives and friends give the children Chinese money in a red envelope. How much money is always a surprise.

Read more: 2018 – Here’s what you need to know about Chinese New Year

Read more: ‘I would not go’ to China says B.C. traveller concerned about coronavirus

“Every year it’s different,” says Bill with a broad smile, explaining that his mom and dad, sometimes the chefs at the restaurant, his grandma and grandpa, his aunties, his cousins and his uncles all give him money.

“I just save up,” he says of his plans for it. Last year he received about $3,000 in Chinese money, equalling about $500 Canadian, his mom says.

Ada adds that the celebrations will go on for five or 10 days in China and she’s aware that some people have left Salmon Arm specifically to see family and attend celebrations.

After their dinner, the Sun family will be watching the big New Year’s party in Beijing.

Asked if he’s missing being part of it all, Kevin says definitely.

“For sure, for sure. I’m working but my mind is already in China.”

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