Today is Chinese New Year! It’s the largest celebration of the year in Asian culture and the largest human migration in the world of people making their way home to spend time with their families. When the Yeh family moved over here from Taiwan they kept this celebration going for their family by eating dumplings, fish and hot pot. And of course the kids looked forward the most to saying, “Gong Xi FaCai, Hong Bao Na Lai” or “Happy New Year! Give me a red envelope!” It’s traditional for adults to give kids red envelopes with money inside or Hong Bao on Chinese New Year. The family has precious memories of this time together.

About 15-20 years ago Kathy Yeh was connected with the West Tennessee Adopted Families group based here in Jackson, TN. This group is made up primarily of families that have adopted children from Asian countries. Kathy wanted these families to join in on the fun of Chinese New Year as well as learning a little about their culture in the process.

So every Chinese New Year Asia Garden hosts this wonderful group of caring families. This year was our best ever as it was the first one in our new location. Also, we broke a record with over a hundred people participating! For the past 2 years we’ve had Terry Scott come and make any type of balloon animal the kids want and they are very intricate. I saw a little girl last night with a fish hanging off a fishing rod, a couple of unicorns and a flower that he had sprayed to smell good…just like flowers should. We also have a wonderful man named Kasper Northern come and take family pictures and group pictures for everyone to take home with them.

But most of all its fun catching up with old friends and seeing all the new faces. Kathy has been doing this so long that she’s seen a generation of kids already and is getting to know the new ones. We both enjoy putting together the goody bags and handing them out to all the kids. This year will be all about the year of the pig so we included a pig nose that the kids had fun putting on and taking pictures of along with a Chinese handheld fan, chocolate, and other fun treats.Kathy is fantastic at decorating the restaurant with festive red lanterns and spring couplets wishing everyone good luck in the New Year.

Lots of families only see each other once a year, so they talk and exchange information about their adoptive process along with supporting and encouraging each other. I know we hope that everyone walks away afterwards feeling loved, supported, and better connected to the Asian culture. We wish all our friends, family and customers near and far a Happy Chinese New Year!