Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!! 恭喜發財

*This first post took me a while, thus the late post!**

It's Chinese New Year and I thought it would be a good idea to start my blog. It's something that I always wanted to try and what better time to start!

This year's new year was especially busy because I had to work the weekend before new years. Chinese New Year's eve fell on Sunday, January 25, 2009. We had our "Reunion dinner" on Sunday night. My mom cooked a feast as usual:

Shark fins soup, geoduck sashimi, stir fried geoduck over greens, sea cucumber braised with mushrooms, steam fish, poached chicken, lobster and egg rolls!

Geoduck sashimi. This taste A LOT better than it looks! This is my dad's favorite!

Sea cucumber, abalone braised with shitake mushrooms

Geoduck (head) stir fried served over greens


As is tradition, we had to wait until my mom and dad finish the ritual of offering foods to our ancestors and the gods, officially closing out the year before we can have our dinner. I have noticed that each year our "tradition" changes. This year my mom's focus was on how many dishes of food is on the table. As every asian knows, 8 is the number to have! But my mom said that as long as we have an even number of dishes of food, that is good also. Good things comes in pairs!

For Chinese New Years we have a lot of traditions, like everybody needs to have new clothes, Red is the best! My mom reminds us a month in advance to have new pajamas, new slippers, new undies, and new sheets.

My mom always made sure we had our new clothes, in RED for good luck. She has even taken to buying extra for us (me and my 4 sisters!). My mom wants to make sure we have good luck (she is so sweet!)

After dinner my family will usually sit down at the Mah Jong table for a few games, not gambling with our "red envelope" money though!

Red Envelope 利是 - An envelope that is passed out during Chinese New Year for luck. This is usually passed out by married couples to relatives and friends that are not married. The red envelope is a symbol of luck. Our parents usually give it to us on New Year's eve to put under our pillow for good luck.

My sisters have taken up the tradition of staying up the whole night of New Year's eve because we were told that the longer the children stays up, the longer their parents will live. I can never stay up the whole night, but my sisters has stayed up every year, with the help of Mah Jong!

Rules for New Year:
First day of the new year: No sweeping, no taking showers, and we can't comb our hair! (This sounds harsh, but it's not that bad!) This is because the New Year is a fresh start for everybody. Everybody starts the year with good luck, and if you sweep the floor, you're sweeping away your good luck. ESPECIALLY important is to not throw any trash away, because you would be throwing away your luck!

On the First day, we refrain from eating meat. I really enjoy this part because my mom makes the best vegetarian dishes during new years. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of that.

We usually don't visit our relatives on the first day, and my parents don't pass out red envelopes to friends and relatives yet. I think it might be the same idea of not wanting to give away your luck on the first day, not sure...

*The new tradition this year is to cook a pot of rice on the first day of the New year. This will ensure that our family will have rice for the whole year!

We are suppose to greet friends and families with wishes of good health and prosperity.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all a great year filled with happiness and joy. May the New year flood your family with good fortune, great health, and happiness!


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