The particle way

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Chinese New Year

Today (2/8/2004) is "Nian San Sup" (Year, 30), that is, the day before Chinese New Year.

Traditionally our family will clean the house, bought new clothes / shoes to prepare for the new year. And today, all the family members should come home and have dinner together. This is called "Tun Lin Fan" (Yearly together dinner?). I don't remember what kind of foods we eat, but the foods were always good :)

I think the "Jo Krun" (Kitchen God) supposedly will go back to Heaven to report to the Big God during new year. We wanted "Jo Krun" to speak good words for our family in front of the Big God, so what do we do? Bribe him :)

After dinner, my mom will prepare steamed whole chicken with head and tail (To symbolize the beginning and end), fish (have "leftover", rice / money, etc), "Fat Choi Ho Si" (aka. "hairy vegetables" and dried oyster, symbolizing making money and good businese), "Ton Yun" (rice-flour ball in sweet soup, symbolizing family together) and many things I don't remember. She will offer those foods to the "Jo Krun" at midnight, and it is called "Hoi Lin" (to start this year).

How? Easy. She will take out the wood tray.. around 2.5' x 3.5' (painted in red) and put everything on top. She will get 3 pairs of plastic mini-chopstick, together with 3 small cup with rice wine. She will pour the wine from each cup on the ground as an offering. Then her kids (aka me, my brother and sister) will give the god a buddist gesture - palm-to-palm closed both hands, put in front of the chest and bow 45 degree, 3 times. What will happen to the food? Of course in our stomach tomorrow.

There is another saying, the longer the children stay late for this night, the longer the parent live. So what do we kids do? Playing poker / majong, of course :) Actually, when I was too small for those games, I usually help me mom to prepare red packet. She always get the new HK$10 bills from the bank. You know, the kind of absolutely brand new, un-fold, clean, still-smell-the-fresh-money-smell, easily-cut-your-finger, still-stick-together bills. And we (used to be 3 brother and sister, then me and my sister, later me only...) will fold the bill in half and put in the red packet. We also prepare some HK$1, $2 and $5 (coin) red packet. I heard from news... the average red packet this year is HK$20 - $30. Inflation at work :)


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