Feb 20, 2010

special post - chinese new year 2010

welcome year of the TIGER ! let me hear you roar!!

cute festive tigers decorate our main door and origami fishes (made by my mil) hangs off our doorbell :)

ahh ... the chinese new year frenzy has quieten down a little, tho there are several more days before cny officially ends. we celebrate 15 days of cny where the 15th day or fondly known as "chap goh meh" falls on the first full moon of the new lunar year. this year everyone seems to have taken extra long holidays ... or is it just me :) the first day of the tiger year fell coincidentally on valentines day. i guess not too many roses got sold, or rather most of the florists have already gone back to their hometowns for cny ... :p

the friday just before the 14th saw hoards of traffic leaving the big city back to smaller townships where the elders still live. it is customary that the kids make it back to their parents' home on the eve of cny for a reunion dinner. my reunion dinner ... well, my mother in law always preferred lunch, was set at our place :D can you see the glee on my face? no traffic jams back to hometowns since all of my family have moved to the big city. we had the city to ourselves during cny!! such JOY!! reminds me of christmas holidays in manchester, when all the students have gone home, we had the uni campus and the city of manchester to ourselves ... those of us who were foreign students and didn't celebrate christmas were the only ones left :)

food is always in abundance during reunion dinners ... and really fatty! the must-haves would be these... boiled chicken complete with the skin, and boiled pork belly complete with the fatty layers :) the dip ... shreaded shallots, ginger, spring onions mixed is a soya sauce concoction, cooked by splashing hot boiling oil over the concoction :)

and the liquid that was used to boil these, would never be wasted ... my mil is a magician in the kitchen. she could turn anything into food and in this case, the liquid was turned into yummy soup!

some vege just to balance the meat :) and of course mandarin oranges are always a must. they signify prosperity and gold to the chinese family ...

well ... we definitely have no shortage of "gold" in our fridge! probably more than the country's gold reserves !!

the rest of cny eve was spent chatting and preparing angpow packets (or red packets) for tomorrow's influx of kids ;) unfortunately, married couples are expected to give angpow packets out to children, which include singles becos as long as you are not married you are considered a "child" ... i have given angpows to a 45 year old "child" ... my very good friend ... hehehe ...

angpows are traditionally in red to signify luck, but the mod ones now, come in yellows and gold :) *the image of the angpows above, is llara kaye's stash this year ... !

the first day of cny is dedicated to visiting elders. but since my house is designated the mothership, my parents in law spent their time here and we had jason's family all coming over to visit. on the morning of cny, i would always prepare a cup of "new year's tea" for my mil and fil :) chinese tea leaves and a red date for longevity and good health :)

it is also customary that we exchange "gifts" with family members, "gifts" comprising of oranges, groundnuts, sweets, chocolates ... actually whatever that you think signifies abundance and joy :)

the first day of cny in jason's family is vegetarian day ... we eat a simple but delicious meal called "jai" which comprises of a variety of fungi, tofu, mushrooms, cabbage, grass noodles, ... all cooked as one hodgepodge in famented beancurd. sounds weird but i assure you ... it tastes fantastic!! we eat this with white rice :)

and of course the visiting continues to the second and the third day of cny with no short of festivities, open houses and fatty food :)

although the public holidays officially ended on wednesday this week, but people are just trickling back to the city, as most of the chinese community has taken leave from work for a week. i should think monday would see the city back in full working order.

having said that, there would be another big celebration on the last day of cny (15th day). it's to celebrate the first full moon of the new lunar year and in modern times, some even think of it as a sort of valentine's day ... singles will toss oranges with their names and phone numbers written on the oranges into a river or a lake, hoping to meet their soul mate :D
*image of oranges belongs to mikeyip.com*

cny is always a time where family gather. those who work away from home, make their way back home to celebrate this auspicious time with their parents and grandparents. there is of course lion dances and dragon dances, the burning of fire crackers ... a lot of festivities and noise and celebrations out there. but for me ... it's a time to reflect, slow down, forget about work and concentrate on family ... and eat as much as i want ;)



16 comments:

  1. Hello dear Luthien!-)*

    What an intresting post do you have here!
    I know almost nothing about it...
    And on you photos like it very delicious!!!-)

    Tahnk you SO much for share and have a fabulous weekend!-)))

    Many love and hugs,

    ***Violetta***

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  2. ~how absolutely beautiful...i felt as if i were there celebrating with you and yours...such tradition to withhold and keep...lucky you are to be blessed with your family near to celebrate...and oh my GOODNESS the fridge...yikes! and i and my tummy or a wee bit jealous you got to partake in such a delicatable spread...all my best to you and brightest blessings~

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  3. This was wonderful Luthien!! I loved hearing all about your New Year and all the yummy things you ate! Gosh I wish we could visit you, so much!! (Oh and I snagged the photo of your family - so fabulous!) I hope you've enjoyed a wonderful cny and sometime I'll have to pick your brain for recipes since we shop mostly in the Asian market now where nothing is written in English, lol!
    MUAX♥♥

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  4. Oh wow, I feel like I was there with you! Thanks for sharing and now I feel VERY hungry!!!

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  5. Yea for the year of the Tiger! My favorite waitress at the Chinese restaraunt told me the years of Tiger and Dragon were the luckiest and best! Of course I was born in the Dragon, LOL.

    Since I am a veggie, my stomach was growling like a tiger at that tofu dish, YUM-O

    Happy New (lucky) Year, Chickie :)
    I love the family portrait,
    xoxox

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  6. That is a wonderful post with great photos.
    (Your family looks so nice.)
    I became hungry while reading your post. Maybe I go to the chinese diner in our street.
    Yes I think thats a good idea.
    Have a great sunday
    Janine (the monkey)

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  7. I really enjoyed reading about you cny, the traditions and what you eat, I didn't know anything about it at all and all that yummy food has made me hungry too, I so love chinese food, my favourite!!! Yum yum!! I hope you had a lovely time. Happy New Year - of the Tiger!!!

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  8. What a fantastic family and I love to read about your customs! So interesting !

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  9. Hi Luthien,
    Wow, Thanks for sharing this post of Chinese New Year. How exciting and busy for you all.
    Hugs,
    Anna

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  10. thank you all for your wonderful comments!! i'm glad you liked my cny post :)))

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  11. Wow, thank you so much for sharing all this- I loved learning about cny and those pictures, so delicious looking esp the veggie dish- my stomach actually started growling at that one....;)
    Also, thanks for sharing the portrait of your family- just beautiful!

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  12. Luthien, I love hearing about these traditions. It makes me homesick for my friend Emily from Hong Kong whom I have lost touch with. I used to love her stories about a life so different from ours. She was very entertaining, just like you LOL! Interesting how with all traditions, the family is at the heart of it all. Love your family photo! And the food...suddenly I'm very hungry!

    Happy New Year!

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  13. Oh.. Luthien. Gong Xi Fa Cai to you!
    I come in here a few time already but can't load in. The internet connection is very poor for the past few days, but I'm happy to be finally here.
    All of this is so sweet, I mean you must work really hard for the food.
    Are you Cantonese ?
    I'm Hakka and so is my hubby. We rest at home the first day but we do eat vegetarian that morning til noon.
    Your style of CNY seems a little different from mine but I like your one better.
    Happy Tiger Year!

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  14. What a lovely post! I love reading about your traditions. The food looks awesome! And a great family portrait!
    I'm sure you had a wonderful time with your family and now bet you are glad to get back to normal.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  15. My dear,dear friend Luthien,

    Happy.happy birthday to you!-)***

    Make you wish and let's coming you dream in the reality,darling!!!

    Many love,blessings and hugs,

    ***Violetta***

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thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post :) it makes my day!!
xoxoxo
Luthien :)