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Chinese New Year Day 1 2008

>> Friday, February 8, 2008

Last night’s reunion dinner was really good that I looked forward for an even better spread throughout the festival…hahaha. Each year, my family will not fail to gather in the morning on the 1st day of Chinese New Year for a vegetarian meal. Somehow, I feel that the vegetarian meal that we have is very different from what I would get in other houses. I guess every family will have their own style of a vegetarian dish & I could certainly say that nothing beats what I get each year at home!

My aunt will usually wake up around 5.30 a.m. to prepare for the veggie dish. Cooking for a family of 20 people is certainly not an easy task. Mind you, my family members are pretty picky when it comes to food, so flavor is extremely important! If the dish is too salty, lacking in fermented bean curd (‘fu yue’ in Cantonese), or even if it has a slightly burnt smell (due to over-boiling of the veggie), you’ll have to be prepared to receive some feedbacks ;) It happens each year, & perhaps that’s why the dish gets better each year! Kudos to my aunt! *lol*
Home-cooked vegetarian dish

It is the tradition to eat the veggie dish with rice. Each member is highly encouraged to go for second helping of rice (‘tim fan’ in Cantonese) as it symbolizes ‘prosperity’ in some way (I’ve no idea how it connects) :P I reckon, the simplest way to put it in the Malay language is ‘ada rezeki’.

Every family member will also participate in the tea ceremony, whereby the younger ones will serve the older ones tea while saying some well wishes as a sign of respect. I return, the older family members will give a red packet (‘ang pow’ in Hokkien) as a symbol of good luck & best wishes for the younger ones.

Traditional tea cups for the tea ceremony. Family's heirloom!! Can't find it elsewhere & can't buy it off the rack now!

Tea ceremony. Even our uncles & aunties are encouraged to honour each other through this act of respect :)

After carrying out all the tradition, culture, & routine, all members of the family will adjourn to my grand aunt’s place for a visit, as well as to savor her irresistible home-made prawn cracker (‘keropok udang’ in Malay) & home-cooked ‘achar’ (cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, and cabbage cooked in chilli & sprinkled with chopped peanuts before serving). Seriously, both her specialties are not to be missed & my grand aunt has to reserve at least 1 large tin of prawn crackers (if not 2 tins!) for my entire family when we visit her! *lol* Each individual family will then go for their own visitations after stopping by at my grandaunt’s place.

Most of the days in Chinese New Year will be as such! Food, Fun, Red Packets, & Reunions!

- Ruth


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