Saturday, February 27, 2010

CNY celebration

Chinese New Year is an interesting celebration. The customs and traditions may vary from places to places, but here are a few main ones I find interesting that are passed on from generations to generations.

A few days before the CNY, families will shop for new clothes to wear for the new year and will give their home a thorough "spring" cleaning.
On the new year day itself, it's time for prayers to ancestors. There will be many family dinners, and you can expect calls, emails or visits from friends. Each household will make sure it has enough food for the guests. You'll see loads of Mandarin oranges, which has the significance of luck, and home baked pastries, pineapple tarts being the famous one for Malaysians.

This pineapple tart is baked by MIL. She's a very good cook and baker, one of the best (and the only one from her side of the family). I would very much like to learn from her from scratch, but she doesn't seem to be interested in sharing her cooking after several attempts... so but for now I have to rely on internet, blogs and bits and pieces of her advice instead :). If you have a MIL who is generous enough to teach you how to cook her son's favorite dishes, consider yourself lucky!!! Otherwise, you have to learn by mistake on your own and practice more. (I apologize if I have offended anyone in this post, I did not mean it that way, sorry :)

More pastries bought:
Pineapple tart, gift from a friend (not home baked though):

We received friends for the celebration, and they brought along home baked chocolate chip cookies and home baked chocolate cake. Hmmm, not bad idea at all, cookies and cakes take lesser time to prepare than pineapple tarts, so why not!

The most interesting is the Yee Sang (raw fish salad) tossing (mainly for Malaysians): the higher you toss it with your chopsticks, while saying your wishes, the better your chance of having a year of abundance. The dish is usually composed of fresh salmon, white radish, carrots, seaweed, ground peanuts, crackers, topped with sour plum sauce, and is usually eaten on the 7th day of the New Year. (Sorry I don't have any pictures of the Yee Sang yet... DH didn't have time to transfer them to me *snif snif*, this explains the delay for this post. Next time, I'll make sure I use my own little camera!)

Not forgetting the red envelops exchange tradition, as well as Blackjack with your family and friends... yeaps, it's hard to separate gambling and CNY.

This red envelop is from McDonald's!!! How sweet :)

If you're married, don't expect to receive any red envelops! Unmarried friends and relatives will expect the red envelops from you instead! (I prefer the Japanese tradition, where only students are given the red money envelops :). I've been told that the regular amount to put inside red envelops in Malaysia is RM5-12, of course, you can always give more.

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