A Global New Year Party

Fireworks, parties, family gatherings, traditions, cultural performances, and bright hopes for the year ahead: Wherever you are in the world – and whenever you celebrate – there is no time quite like the New Year for uniting CLP colleagues everywhere

Happy New Year! Whether you celebrate it in the warmth of a summer’s night in Sydney or the chill of a winter’s day in Beijing, CLP employees around the world unite in welcoming the New Year in the company of colleagues, friends, and family. Some spend it at home. Others spend it at work diligently continuing their duty to provide a safe and reliable energy supply for customers through the holiday season. Regardless of timing and nature of the celebrations, the New Year is a festival that unites us as we savour memories of the year gone by and share our hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

Bright hopes at midnight

Fireworks explode above Sydney Harbour at midnight on New Year’s Eve

Australians are famously gregarious and sociable and are always among the first to celebrate as the New Year dawns in its time zone before moving to the rest of the world.

“The summer weather makes New Year’s Eve a great night to be out and about,” says Britt Hodgson, EnergyAustralia’s Communications Adviser. “Whether you like to go away camping, host a party for a few people in your backyard, or head into the city to join in the celebrations, there are plenty of options.”

While the Sydney Harbour fireworks display is the country’s best known celebration that attracts more than a million spectators each year, every major city puts on its own party. The summer skies are ablaze with colour and the streets bursting with life and laughter as Australians welcome in the New Year with their unique style and spirit.

A colourful diversity of traditions

Ajay (right) and his family celebrate the New Year festival in traditional costumes

The New Year is celebrated at different times and in many different ways in India – a rich patchwork of cultures where our colleagues mark it according to their customs and traditions. “India is a country of diversity,” says CLP India Executive – Commercial (Renewables) Ajay Pawle. “Indians in different states or of different religious beliefs celebrate the coming of a new year with a variety of festivals, each with its own history and origins.”

“Most of these festivals, such as Ugadi, Vaisakhi, and Gudhi Padva, fall at the beginning of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, and are celebrated in spring because it is the season of harvest,” Ajay explains. “Although many Indians no longer lead a life dependent on agriculture, traditions are passed down from generation to generation and are shared among the different celebrations, including the making of traditional artwork and the honouring of our gods and goddesses. In other festivals such as Bohag Bihu, the Assamese New Year, and Hijiri, the Islamic New Year, you will see parades and performances of cultural songs and dances. Each celebration is a unique part of our country’s rich and diverse history and heritage.”

China’s biggest party

Qiu Zhu (left), a Yi tribesman, shows off his tribal New Year costumes to employees

China too has a very distinctive way of celebrating the New Year, saving its greatest annual celebration for the start of the lunar calendar which falls in January or February. Like India, it is a festival that embraces a diversity of different cultures and traditions.

Qiu Zhu, an engineer at CLP Sichuan (Jiangbian) Power Company, describes how Yi tribesmen celebrate Chinese New Year. “If I don’t have duties or shifts during the New Year, I will go home because I don’t want to miss the Yi tribe’s indigenous celebration, which usually begins in November. Under the government’s minority policy, our tribe leaders can pick an auspicious date for New Year’s Day. This is an expression of respect for our customs and our elders.”

Guardians of the festive light

While most people celebrate the holiday with their families, some employees have to stay behind to make sure the power stays on for everyone else. “I’m used to it,” says Kenneth Kam, an engineer at the Castle Peak Power Station in Hong Kong. “We take care of our larger family and not just our own families because the livelihood of so many people depends on our work. I feel proud of our team because we are passionate about our jobs, and our work brings festive happiness not only to our families but to families everywhere in our supply area.”

Power plant employees gather for a sumptuous Chinese New Year meal

Kenneth adds: “We have our own fun at work though. Our boss and colleagues who are married share the festive joy with us by giving out red packets. We thank each other and wish each other good luck. Our team will knock on the doors of supervisors and managers and deliver wishes and blessings. When our morning shift is over, we celebrate the New Year with a team lunch at one of our favourite dim sum restaurants.”

Yang Xun, who works at Fangchenggang Power Station in Guangxi, Mainland China, feels a closer bond with his colleagues when they work together over the New Year. “We have colleagues from Hubei, Yunnan and Fujian in our team,” he says. “On New Year’s Day, we have a meal together and we share our respective local dishes like a family. Sharing our thoughts about our families back home creates a sense of solidary among us.”

Fangchenggang Power Station operator Wang Shirong connects with his family through mobile app during the Chinese New Year

Thanks to modern technology, employees are able to share the New Year joy with their families even though they may be thousands of miles apart. “I come from Pingnan in Guangxi,” says Wang Shirong who works at the Fangchenggang Power Station. “Although I can’t join my family for the Chinese New Year celebrations, my loved ones send me messages so I can share their happiness and warm wishes. Technology makes the miles between us melt away.”

Wherever we are in the world and however we celebrate the New Year, CLP employees are one family and, through our different cultures and traditions, we share our dreams and embrace the universal qualities of hope, love, and humanity. As CLP Power Managing Director TK Chiang says in his New Year video message, we wish every one of you good luck, good health, and success in the year ahead.