It’s the time of the year again! 🙂 It’s pretty different celebrating in Singapore vs New Zealand, but here are some of the usual highlights for me:
Family and Friends / reunion time – having the opportunity to see everyone all in a short space of time. We usually go to visit the homes of the most elderly people / closest relatives first.
Red packets / Ang Paos (Hokkien) – which I know them as because Singapore is a mix of so many different languages – but in Mandarin, they are called 紅包 hóngbāo. They contain cash and if you are married, you give them to any single people you visit (family, friends) and especially children. It’s an expensive time!
Chinese New Year cookies – These are not purely Chinese – many in China have not seen or heard of these as they are quite a Southeast Asian thing: Nonya Peranakan love letters, pineapple tarts, Kueh Bangkit, almond cookies, and more!
New clothes – a tradition to always wear something new on the New Years Day and during visits and celebrations to start the new year afresh.
Yu Sheng 魚生 yúshēng – My absolute fave! It’s an annual raw fish salad dish and originated in Singapore in the 1960s. People in China and Taiwan don’t eat this / don’t know what the Yu Sheng is though. The main ingredients are carrot, radish, raw salmon, five spice, sesame seeds, peanuts, pomelo fruit, fried wonton skin type pastry, plum sauce, oil, and white pepper. There is a whole process to it and it’s pretty fun!
STEP 1: OFFER NEW YEAR GREETINGS
gong xi fa cai
Congratulations on your wealth
wan shi ru yi
May all your wishes be fulfilled
2: ADD THE SHREDDED CARROT
hong yun dang tou
May good luck approach you
STEP 3: ADD THE SHREDDED GREEN RADISH
qing chun chang zhu
May you be forever youthful
STEP 4: ADD THE SHREDDED WHITE RADISH
Feng sheng shui qi
May progress come quickly
bu bu gao shen
May you make steady advances in your career
STEP 5: ADD THE RAW FISH
nian nian you yu
May you have abundance throughout the year
STEP 6: SQUEEZE LIME OVER THE FISH AND ADD THE POMELO
da ji da li
Good luck and great prosperity to you
STEP 7: SPRINKLE THE 5 SPICE POWDER AND PEPPER
zhao cai jin bao
May you attract wealth and treasure
STEP 8: POUR THE OIL OVER THE DISH
yi ben wan li
May you profit 10,000 times from your capital.
STEP 9: POUR THE PLUM SAUCE
cai yuan guang jin
May you have many sources of wealth
STEP 10: SPRINKLE CRUSHED PEANUTS
jin yin man wu
May your house be filled with gold and silver
STEP 11: SPRINKLE SESAME SEEDS
sheng yi xing long
May your business prosper
STEP 12: Pour the packet of golden pillows
man di huang jin
May your floor be covered with gold
(Source: Her World magazine, Singapore)