Every Chinese New Year a reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve, where members would gather for a meal. Family members, even those living afar, would travel home for this important celebration.
This year, the family had an early reunion. This is so as my brother-in-law and his family moved to Australia last year. Last year, they made the trip home for the Chinese New Year, and as a result, his daughter missed school for close to a week. When they got back, the parents received a shelling from the principal!! So, this year, going against custom, they decided that they cannot be around for the reunion dinner on the actual day, as school only reopens on 4 Feb.
So, last evening, our group of 16 went out for dinner. We were really fortunate that the restaurant we chose had a table big enough to accomodate all of us. The food was good but the service was slow. The children were really hungry. We were all there by about 7 pm. but were only served out first dish at about 7.20pm. However, we had to wait until 825 for the 2nd dish. By then, you could tell, the children could hardly take the wait any longer. I guess, that's the problem with eating out.
M-i-l being the traditionalist, would still be cooking a feast on the actual new year's eve with all of her "must have" dishes (which was why we chose to eat out last evening). So, we would still get to enjoy the traditional NY's eve dinner, but I guess it will be a quieter affair with less of the "clan" around.