Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese New Year in Upstate NY

Chinese New Year means new traditions for some local families
Kim Kaso occasionally celebrated Chinese New Year, but it didn't hold much significance until she moved to Vestal and adopted Natalie Bei Ryan, 5, from China. She and her family now make the holiday, which falls on Sunday this year, a part of their yearly customs.

"We've added another holiday tradition," Kaso said, explaining that families who have adopted children from China often must create new family traditions that embrace heritage and history.

Every year, the Kaso family and the Siteck family of Colesville celebrate Chinese New Year by driving to Syracuse and having an authentic Chinese dinner with two other New York families. They travel not only to celebrate the holiday but to reconnect -- all of the families adopted children from the same orphanage.

"We try to make her aware that she was born in China," Kaso said. "We enjoy getting together to renew ties with family and friends."

Jim Siteck, father of 5-year-old Julia, said he also believes it is important for his daughter to keep in touch with her heritage.

"I'd like my child to take an interest in her culture, but I won't force it on her. It's up to her to decide how much she wants to pick up," he said.


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