Mackay electrician Jun Yuan celebrated the Chinese New Year by sharing a plate of spring rolls with his workmates. Picture: Heidi Petith
Mackay electrician Jun Yuan celebrated the Chinese New Year by sharing a plate of spring rolls with his workmates. Picture: Heidi Petith

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."

More stories:

TOP GUN: Mackay woman on way to becoming fighter pilot

He swam through shark waters to rescue mother-of-two

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.

Mackay electrician Jun Yuan moved to Australia with his mother when he was 12 years old. Picture: Heidi Petith
Mackay electrician Jun Yuan moved to Australia with his mother when he was 12 years old. Picture: Heidi Petith

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.

Subscriber benefits:

How to activate your free Courier-Mail subscription

Your dose of Harry Bruce cartoons

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.

Jun Yuan said his mum Min Jie Li, who is living in Western Australia, liked to go all out with cooking for Chinese New Year. These are the dishes she prepared for just two people. Pictures: Min Jie Li
Jun Yuan said his mum Min Jie Li, who is living in Western Australia, liked to go all out with cooking for Chinese New Year. These are the dishes she prepared for just two people. Pictures: Min Jie Li

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.



Interactive: Where you can still get a house for $500k

Premium Content Interactive: Where you can still get a house for $500k

Here’s where you can still get a house for less than $500,000

Blue-eyed surfer becomes dad-of-50 in sperm bank glitch

Premium Content Blue-eyed surfer becomes dad-of-50 in sperm bank glitch

There are now fears he could have fathered dozens more

Granite Belt growers score big in industry-first incentive

Premium Content Granite Belt growers score big in industry-first incentive

Producers pin hopes for desperately needed seasonal workers on innovative $100K...