Homesick residents decode taste of home over Spring Festival holiday
By Wang Mengjie

A winter resurgence of COVID-19 has meant many would stay home for Spring Festival, but one way people are keeping the holiday spirit alive this year is through traditional food.  

In response to China's government calling for people to stay home for Chinese New Year, Zhang Caifang is spending the holiday with her husband's family in Beijing. 

To cope with homesickness, Zhang will be cooking a special dish, one her mother usually cooks this time of year. 

"It's a tradition for my family to cook a fish on New Year's Eve, and it's definitely my mom's specialty," Zhang told CGTN, adding that fish is not only her family's favorite, but an auspicious symbol.  

The pronunciation for the Chinese character for fish has the same sound as the word "abundance." So by eating fish, it means it'll bring you a year of abundance.  

Zhang said when she was little, her mother cooked fish for her, and now she can cook it for her child. 

"It's an inheritance of love, which also reminds me of the taste of home."

Apart from fish, Zhang's mother-in-law also made zha juanjuan, or crunchy spring rolls. She said every family in northern China will cook these fried triangles of dough filled with meat for the New Year. 

Well-being of those staying put ensured during holidays 

In China, food and festival always go hand in hand. Every family will cook feasts on Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve, culminating a year of hard work. 

With more people staying where they are, authorities have ensured they'll have everything they need for the holiday. 

"Actually, it's ok for me to stay put, as my husband's family is also my family. I have my baby here, it's another home with deep love," Zhang added. 

She believes that life at her husband's hometown is comfortable, as they can buy everything they need from the store. 

"So, returning to my hometown after the New Year holiday won't be late for me," said Zhang. 

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