- Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections
- Home Made Visible collection
- Wong family videos : family reunion 70
Wong family videos : family reunion 70
Project and donor contributed description follows:"A clip documenting the Red Packet (hóngbāo) ceremony taking place at Mr Wong’s 70th birthday celebration in 2002. During this ceremony family members were called up in a particular order to accept a red envelope of money from Mr Wong. Deanna Wong, Mr. Wong’s daughter who found and digitized this video, recalls that family members were called up according to age and lineage. For example, Mr. Wong’s siblings would be called first, followed by their children and grandchildren. In this video Mr Wong's eldest son, Terry was called first, and then, since their middle son Ted was not present, Deanna, the youngest of the three, came next. Following her came Terry's kids from eldest to youngest. And since Deanna nor Ted had children at the time, the eldest cousin and his wife, and their kids etc followed. As the eldest of 13 siblings, Mr. Wong would have had many envelopes to hand out! Originally from Hong Kong, Mr. Wong came to Canada to study engineering at McGill University in the mid-1950s, where he met Deanna's mother. Mrs. Wong's father, Deanna maternal grandfather, immigrated to Canada in 1921 and paid the $500 head tax in order to enter the country. Mr Wong's father, Deanna’s paternal grandfather, was a doctor specializing in acupuncture, which was illegal in Canada at the time, so he settled in California. Now his family lives around the world, including the United States, Singapore, Japan and in various places in Canada. This milestone birthday presented a great opportunity for a family reunion. And to accommodate everyone, this celebration took place in the home of Deanna’s eldest brother and Mr. Wong’s eldest son, Terry. Now a longtime resident of Toronto, Deanna calls Winnipeg home where she and her two brothers grew up. Although they were one of the few families of colour around, she remembers her neighbourhood and her experiences fondly. Her parents, particularly her mother, worked hard to build a Chinese community where the children could have Chinese friends and be exposed to their culture. They started a Mandarin school, even though Cantonese was their mother tongue, and began a summer camp. Family and community come together again at this celebration, one of many for the Wong family."