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In China, Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday, is a time of intense travel and the only time of year many can make it home. For those living abroad, making a trip can be impossible, whether because of finances or time. And many people, less traditional than their parents, forgo the traditional homegoing altogether.

Michelle King, a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said hot pot’s main appeal is how conducive it is to gathering. “It’s written into the way you eat,” she said, “the feeling of celebration and communion.”

The New York Times