Hyderabad: Chinese families in Hyderabad ushered in the Lunar New Year on Saturday, marking the Year of the Dragon, considered the most auspicious sign in the Chinese zodiac. This year’s celebrations were held on a muted note following the recent passing of the founder of the Hyderabad Overseas Chinese Friendship Association, Chiu Li Mei.
The families gathered at the Mahabodhi Buddha Vihar in Mahendra Hills. This marked the first time they celebrated at this Buddhist temple, offering prayers and exchanging greetings.
The association, boasting over 55 families, descended from the families hailing from Shan Tong, Hubei, Canton, Mei Jhou and Mainland China. They arrived in Secunderabad as early as the 1940s and started living in what was then called Oxford Street, now renamed Sarojini Devi Road.
Yuking Yu, whose father was among the early Chinese settlers, highlighted the significance of the gathering: “Families came together for prayers and festivities, reminding us of our roots and strengthening bonds despite being born and raised here.”
Due to the temple’s practices, the customary celebratory feast was replaced with vegetarian fare. Most Chinese restaurants owned by the community remained closed as a mark of respect for Chiu Li Mei.
Families held smaller gatherings in their homes, upholding traditions and cherishing the opportunity to reconnect. For Samantha Moi Yuan Yu, a third-generation Chinese resident and airline cabin crew manager, these celebrations hold immense value: “Each Lunar New Year brings renewed excitement as we meet relatives and friends. Our parents ensured we follow our traditions, reminding us of our heritage.”
The Year of the Dragon, symbolising power, ambition, and good fortune, is believed to bring positive energy and prosperity. While marked with a touch of sadness, the Chinese community in Hyderabad remains committed to preserving their cultural heritage and celebrating their traditions in this vibrant Indian city.