Family Enjoys Spring Festival Reunion

"It's good to be home again," said 98-year-old Zhou Chunrong, dressed in a red traditional Qipao outfit.

Zhou is spending the first Spring Festival on the mainland after her departure for Taiwan half a century ago.

She arrived in Shanghai last month to be reunited with her elder daughter Li Fenghua, son-in-law Sun Xiyue and the family of their seventh child Sun Lizhong. At their home in Shanghai, they held two New Year celebrations - one on January 1 and the other on January 24, lunar New Year's Day.

"It's the lunar New Year that made my mother happier," said Li. "She was so talkative during the holiday."

Zhou said she had traveled across the mainland before she left Shanghai with her husband, a Kuomintang army veterinary, for Taiwan in 1949. Since then, she had not returned to the city, where she currently plans to spend the Year of the Snake.

"We left for Taiwan on the 15th day of that year's Spring Festival," Zhou recalled. "It was the Lantern Festival - representing a family reunion in the Chinese tradition."

For Zhou, the 1949 Spring Festival was far less cheerful than the current one.

"We were not in the festive mood as we had to leave our home in Jiangwan," Zhou said. Jiangwan is in northeastern Shanghai.

Fearing danger from the then civil war, Zhou, her daughter Li and Li's first three children, among whom the youngest was only 20 days old, fled to Taiwan.

"We were then ragged migrants, hoping to lead a peaceful life," said son-in-law Sun, 85.

Though the family has two houses in Taiwan and a piece of land in Central America, they believe their root is on the mainland where they were born and brought up. "We came back here because it's our home," said Sun, who returned to Shanghai with his wife and children in 1988.

To welcome the Year of Snake, the family celebrated by having a traditional Jiaozi dinner at home on Yishan Road in the city's southwestern Minhang District.

"Before dinner, we held a ritual ceremony to pay respect to our ancestors," said Li. "We offered two cooked fish - an auspicious symbol of fortune - to their spirits, and on the fifth day we ate the fish to mark the end of the ceremony," Zhou added.

Zhou said she was happy to be visited by some of more than 40 family members in Shanghai. Other relatives in Taiwan also called to wish her a happy new year.

Her grandson Sun Lizhong, now head of the Shanghai family, is general manager of the Shanghai Yong Sheng Textiles Co. Ltd., founded by him and one of his sisters in 1996.

"I had traveled extensively before I decided to settle down here where I belong to," said Sun. "Doing business is like boating along a river. Shanghai is a river full of opportunities," said Sun, who brought his four children to the city in 1999.

( 01/30/2001)

In This Series

Celebrating Spring Festival Holidays in New Ways

Nation Celebrating Lunar New Year

A Cultural Festival for Chinese

Temple Fairs to Add Festivity to Lunar New Year

Snake Exhibition for Lunar New Year

Contact and Exchange With Taiwan People Urged



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