Aussie tradie takes Chinese New Year down under
Mackay electrician Jun Yuan should have been in China on Friday watching the fireworks with his family for the biggest celebration of the year.
But because of COVID, he instead celebrated the Chinese New Year by sharing a plate of his homemade spring rolls with workmates at their Paget shed.
"If you're in China, it's seven days where, if your family are living in the cities and stuff, they will travel all the way for gathering," Mr Yuan explained.
"You don't get a lot of holidays (in China); there's only two main events.
"There's Chinese New Year and the other is similar to Australia Day."
Mr Yuan said almost everyone except for restaurant workers and the like were given the week off work in China to return on the eighth day, a lucky number in Chinese culture.
He said during the festivities, streets were adorned with red decorations and most families let off fireworks bought from "literally any shop".
At least that was during his childhood.
"I don't think they allow the fireworks these days," Mr Yuan said.
"Now they're worried about the pollution.
He explained fireworks and the colour red were entwined with the New Years tradition because of a legend about a monster named Nian.
Nian was attacking villagers until they successfully scared him off with bright lights, fireworks, and the colour red.
The colour red also carried over to the Chinese New Year's custom of grandparents giving their grandchildren money inside sealed red packets - Mr Yuan's favourite memory.
He said each packet had inside about 200 Chinese Yuan, or $40 Australian.
"Nowadays people give 1000 Yuan," he said.
And much like food was the centrepiece of Christmas down under, Mr Yuan said New Year's dishes always featured rice, spring rolls - the celebration also known as Spring Festival - and a steamed fish - symbolising abundance, prosperity and good luck for the year ahead.