GEORGE TOWN: For newlywed Rahula Loh, this year’s Chinese New Year reunion dinner was special as it brought together both her husband’s family and her own.

The 28-year-old, who got married last November, had taken on the “arduous task” of hosting the dinner at her new home for her mother and her in-laws.

“We recently moved into our home and decided to invite both sides of the family so we would not face the dilemma of which side to celebrate with. So we invited both sides over for a steamboat dinner together,” she said.

The early childhood educator said she was excited about her new role as a daughter-in-law.

“It feels like a maiden voyage building our own home, and it has been crazy every step of the way.

“There are moments when I miss my mum, as she usually does all this (reunion dinner preparation), but she has been helpful.

“She does not want to butt in and wants me to make my own mistakes,” she said.

Loh said her husband, Jasmon Lim, 40, went to the market to get all the stuff for the steamboat while she cleaned the house.

“It feels like we are creating new traditions as we merge families and are not following the old tradition of which side to visit first.

“Here, there is no need to visit one side first. I hope everyone will be happy and comfortable,” she said.

On the first day of CNY, Loh expects to have a gathering of friends, and with that comes another new tradition for her.

“It is strange for me. I was just thinking about collecting ang pow money, and then it dawned on me that I will be the one giving out ang pow this year!

“I can’t wait to see the look on my friends’ faces when I give them ang pow,” she laughed.

Loh said in previous years, she would visit her grandaunt on the eve of Chinese New Year.

“Then, when I met my husband, it would be either his house or my grandaunt’s,” she said.

But there is a tinge of melancholy for Loh this year because her grandmother passed away last June.

“That means my father cannot join in on the festivities.

“It is a Chinese custom for us to avoid celebrating any festivities for at least a year after a death in our immediate family.

“My father decided to skip out on any CNY events out of respect for the memory of his mum,” she said.