I ♥ CNY!

5 more days and the Chinese New Year will be over! Well, that does not stop me from declaring my love for this festive occasion.

Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1. There’s the annual steamboat sessions with families!

Iko girl girl joins in the fun!

Mum and Dad

Poh's CNY present to Mum

Adding fishballs...

My favourite: Prawns!

Another yummilicious dish: Chilli Crab!

Food served! Let's tuck in!

Another shot of the smelliest yet cutest girl

My Family, Missing Elder Sis and Nephews and Bro-in-Law

Steamboat session at my place!

For the steamboat session at my place, mother-in-law was super nice to prepare all the ingredients and the soup. Sedap! I got this steamboat for only $43.90 from Groupon! Cheap and handy! It comes with the yuan yang divider so it was perfect to seperate the spicy soup which Poh added chili padi from the one that was original.

I also got this griller from Tefal for CNY! Paid a hefty $199 for it only to realise that there were similar ones going for a fraction of what I paid for on Groupon days later. Boohoo… Oh well, I put it to good use anyway!

A snapshot of my sister-in-law and Poh's elder brother

2. Gorgeous Flowers in Bloom

We took a ride to the nearby nursery and though we did not buy anything, it was definitely not a wasted trip! The flowers were gorgeous and the colours left us bedazzled. Spring was in the air.

Ok, this one isn't really counted. Ha!

Tangerines! In Chinese, 橘sound like 吉 which means luck.

Pussy Willows

Pussy Willows are often seen in people’s house during the CNY. They symbolise a new beginning and prosperity. As for me, I find the little feathery flowers really adorable.

According to a friend who went to the nursery on the eve of CNY, she managed to get a tangerine plant of 1.5 metres tall at only $16.50! The original price: $65! Ain’t she lucky? 😉

Even the ones in my balcony flowered too!

3. Revisiting long-lost traditions

Perhaps not long-lost but who would remember traditions that are practiced once a year?! Apparently, the older generations do. When all else fails, there’s always the magazines, newspapers and Google to the rescue.  A few days before CNY, mum passed me a slip of newspaper cutting and ordered me not to go home on the first day of CNY. Puzzled by her insistence, I glanced through the article only to saw that daughters who are married are not to visit their own home on the first day of CNY as that would lead to poverty in the home they come from. OooKkk… I’ll just respect her wishes. As you can see from the list, there are quite a number of dos and don’ts to be practiced.

I have mentioned the first. The rest are as follow:

2. Do not wake up a person intentionally on the first day of CNY by calling his name. By doing so, he will end up being hurried the entire year.

3. Do not greet and do not send your CNY greetings to a person who is still asleep or is still lying on his bed. He will keep falling sick the entire year.

4. One is not allowed to scold or hit the kids on the first day of CNY or else he/she would probably have a lawsuit filed against him/her.

5. One is not allowed to sweep, clean, mop and throw away the thrash as that would prevent good luck from being swept away.

6. No eating of porridge as it is a dish eaten by the poor, those who cannot afford to buy rice. Eating porridge will hinder one in gaining wealth.

7. No killing of living things or one may risk ending up being injured or hurt.

8. One should not be going after another person for past debts and should not owe others money. If that happens, the person would end up being in constant debt throughout the year.

9. Avoid breaking things. If things do really slip and break, utter the lucky saying of “碎碎 (歲歲) 平安” ‘which means “year after year will be safe and peaceful” at the scene because the first two characters, “歲歲”, are pronounced the same as the word 碎碎 that means “to be broken, smashed into pieces” in Chinese.

P.S. My translations aren’t fantastic so I hope it’s good enough for anyone to understand. 😉

4. Perfect opportunity to get rid of the old and bring in the new!

As I just moved into my new flat last year, it is also the first time I’m a proud owner of my own place. That would also mean prepping the place and getting ready for the CNY. Other than filling the rice bucket to the brim and ensuring that it is filled til the 15th to signify plenty to eat for the entire year, there were also other things mum instructed me to do.

A. Prepare 12 oranges and place it facing the door to ward off bad luck:

Leeks are also placed at the door to welcome the wealth god because the character “蒜” in its Chinese name (蒜苗/大蒜) sounds like calculating (“算”) in Mandarin. Due to the similar sounds, it is believed that eating leeks is an auspicious symbol of wealth (lots of money to count) in the coming year.

There is also the sticky rice cake also known as nian gao (年糕) 年糕 sounds similar to nian gao 年高 (年年高生) implying promotions or prosperity year after year. Apparently, I have to wait til it become mouldy or rather fa (发) which signifies prosperity before I can dispose of it. Interesting it eh?

Other than these items, I was also to placed a pomelo and a pineapple at my balcony.

Pineapple, known as 凤梨 or 黄梨, spoken in a dialect, sound like welcoming the wealth whereas pomelo, 柚子, signifies having abundance or being blessed with children (though I’m not prepared for any at the moment).

Of course, who can forget the big cleanup before it is disallowed during CNY?!

So, it was with huge determination and perseverance that

BEFORE

becomes

     |

     |

     |

     |

     |

     |

     |

     |

     |

     |

    \/

AFTER

TA-DAH!!!

Super proud of myself though I wonder how long it will last… Haha!

4. House-visiting

Poh's Family

Family Portrait before heading off to the relatives' place

Playing Host

5. New Year Goodies

Sweet Soup signifies being loving as a couple.

Love letters and Bak Kwa

Mother-in-law made Hakka style Stir Fry Taro Dumplings or Abacus Beads, Suan Pan Zi (算盤子)

6. Dressing up

Well, one must begin a new year with a new look so I decided to try out coloured contacts which enlarge my iris. 

 And here’s how I look like:

Not too bad, I would think. Perhaps I’ll get bolder and try other colours eventually. Wonder if it will make me look odd. Haha.

Meanwhile, have a pleasant CNY. It’s just 5 more days to go!!!

Til the next post! 🙂

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