Monday, February 18, 2013

Chinese New Year is not over yet!

I am slowly adapting to the chinese culture since I moved to this country. This is my 3rd year celebrating Chinese New Year and ever since the first year I've been here, I also look forward to this festive season.

In our culture, Chinese New year is like celebrating Christmas, where you visit your love ones and friends, have dinner with them, give presents.

These are the  four things I always look forward to during this festive season:
1. Long Weekend!

Who wouldn't love a long weekend? It is like Christmas for me! 2-3 days off or longer. It depends on which date the Lunar calendar in Chinese New year falls. 

2. Mandarin Oranges!

Though I seldom eat fruits, it feels nice to receive mandarins during this time of season.  They say that mandarins symbolizes gold in Chinese. So it makes me really happy whenever I received GOLD! :)

3. Hong Bao (Red packet)

During this festive season, Chinese people prepare Hongbao's for their friends and loved ones.  The company I am working with also gives hong bao to their employees. My boss also gives hong bao every year. I don't use the money, I just keep it as souvenirs. =)


4. Lo Hey (Prosperity toss)

This is the time where family and friends or your colleagues at work gather in one table and have a prosperity toss. This is like a fish salad where they put all the  shredded veggies, raw fish, oil and a variety of sauces and condiments. Then all of you will toss the salad to mix all the ingedients while saying whatever good words that come to your mind. My friend always say that when you do the Lo Hey, you have to toss higher while saying your wish. The higher you toss, the high chance of having your wish come true.  I love making wishes, so I tried as much as possible to toss the salad higher. Then after we're done tossing, we will start eating the salad. We are like kids playing with our food before we eat it but in a good way.

Since I still don't have enough knowledge to understand Chinese culture, I needed help from the internet so I made some research.

Yusheng, yee sang or yuu sahng (Chinese: 鱼生; pinyin: yúshēng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hî-seⁿ or hû-siⁿ), or Prosperity Toss, also known as lo hei (Cantonese for 撈起 or 捞起) is a Teochew-style raw fish salad. It usually consists of strips of raw fish (most commonly salmon), mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients. Yusheng literally means "raw fish" but since "fish (鱼)" is commonly conflated with its homophone "abundance (余)", Yúshēng (鱼生) is interpreted as a homophone for Yúshēng (余升) meaning an increase in abundance. Therefore, yusheng is considered a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigor.

While versions of it are thought to have existed in China, the contemporary version is created and popularised[citation needed] in the 1960s amongst the ethnic Chinese community and its consumption has been associated with Chinese New Year festivities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. In Malaysia and Singapore, government, community and business leaders often take the lead in serving the dish as part of official functions during the festive period or in private celebrity dinners.

Here's another info I found on the internet about the Chinese New Year:

Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.

The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors.

The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.

The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast called "surrounding the stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honors the past and present generations. 


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