Monday 28 January 2008

Busy, busy, Busy

It's ten days to the Chinese New Year and we have lots to do. I was out distributing tangerines and New Year goodies today as an annual gesture to show appreciation to our vendors and customers.

During the weekend, YK went shopping for new clothes while I stayed home to tidy up the house and yard. Spring cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes the home ready for good luck. We're expecting lots of visitors next weekend, so the house must be spick and span. By the way, brooms must be put away on the first day of the Chinese New Year so that luck cannot be swept away.

We have finalised the menu for reunion dinner and dad has already stocked the freezer with fresh prawns and seafood. I can't wait to try out the induction cooker I bought for our steamboat dinner. My brother will be cooking chicken curry and other traditional dishes. If time permits, I'll make 'pencai' (pot of abundance) like the one I cooked last year. We will have fish too because in Chinese, fish sounds like 'surpluses'. Hence, having fish on the table signifies "surpluses every year" (年年有余).

Over the next few days, people will be changing their old notes for crisp new ones to stuff in red packets that are passed out from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors and children. As a kid, collecting red packets was my favourite activity!

By now, the New Year markets in Chinatown are alive with stalls selling handicrafts, flowers and food that are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune. I'm sure the mandarin oranges, melon seeds, BBQ meat and sticky rice cakes are selling like hot cakes as I speak!

While we have 2 days of public holiday next week, the festivities stretch for 15 days. The first few days are best for visiting relatives. Mom makes offerings at the altar on some days. The seventh day, traditionally known as renri 人日, the common man's birthday, is the day when everyone grows one year older. The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuánxiāo jié (元宵节) which marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

Like most Chinese around the world, I'll probably be buying New Year cookies and stuffing red packets over the next few days. Oh, I mustn't forget to invite the lion dance troupe to our office as a symbolic ritual to usher in the New Year too. I'm getting excited already.


The World According To Me said...

It's interesting to hear about the preparations and traditions.

I'm looking forward to the pictures already!

SOUL said...

well. this sounds a WHOLE LOT better than stinkin black eyed
peas in the USA.
no fair!
i'm doin it your way next time.. cuz actually-- the black eyed pea thing??? i think is BAD luck. i did it for the FIRST time this year-- it's been downhill ever since :))
go figure.

happy happy monday---

Amel said...

Ahhh...I'm gonna miss Chinese New Year this year he he he...we never really did anything much, anyway. We just went to visit our relatives. These days there are lion dances in the big malls in Bandung. :-)))

The Real Mother Hen said...

ARH Chinese New Year!!!
I better get ready here too (yeah right), well, at least I will be busy dreaming about the good food :)

Anonymous said...

happy new years!

Blur Ting said...

World - so many traditions to observe like what to do and what to avoid. We don't really follow actually.

Blur Ting said...

Ha ha Soul, You have another opportunity to boost your luck. Our New Year starts on Next Thursday. Wear red clothes and give Soulkid a red packet with some money inside (must be even number though). Better yet, have some tangerines (if no tangerine, oranges will do) in the house.

Blur Ting said...

Amel - I know you'll miss all the CNY goodies and visiting. It's ok, you'll catch up when you return on your holiday!

Blur Ting said...

MH - Yah, though you're so far away, you should inject some tradition into your household. Put on your cheongsam, make hubby wear samfu and exchange tangerines first thing in the morning, then stretch your hand out for red packet!

Blur Ting said...

JY - Thanks! Don't you all celebrate too?

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