Chinese New Year Traditions

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Can’t believe in less than 24 hours, it would mark the new year of Snake! I was going to be all emotional and sad thinking that this would be the first year Saucer and I celebrate Chinese New Year away from home, but I realized it’s not. The first year of being away during CNY was actually the year we got married. And the new year was celebrated in Maldives during our honeymoon. No complaints about that for sure, but being away on holiday and being away for good are two different things. This year, we will be celebrating CNY probably decorating our house and getting it ready for my parents and family who would be visiting us next week! So, I guess not all is lost. After all, the spirit of CNY is to be together with family and closed ones, is it not?

Speaking of CNY, we can almost never get away from CNY goodies. By goodies, I mean food, really. For me, one of the must-haves during CNY is Yee Sang, or raw fish salad if you must. To be honest, I don’t really love yee sang very much, but I do enjoy the process of mixing it around while chanting wishes and seeing everyone’s happy faces at the same time. The resulting product is not really that important to me, even though it’s a plus if it does taste good. For the past few years, we had had the pleasure of having Yee Sang for at least 5 to 7 days in a row at home. My parents would usually buy the first packet of yee sang for the first day, followed by my aunt and uncle on the second and finally the children take turns on the subsequent days. Of course, this tradition is still in place thanks to my grandparents who never fail to cook up a feast every day during the festival and making sure everyone comes back home to celebrate.

Another delicacy I love during CNY is Nian Gao or Sticky Cake. Believe it or not, I used to hate nian gao when I was young, thinking it smelled funny and was too gooey for my liking. My grandma, knowing that we, the children, didn’t like eating gooey and sticky stuff, improvised by making nian gao fritters. She used to fry them on its own, or sandwiched in between tapioca and taro slices, until they had crispy golden skin. Needless to say, they quickly became a hit and always disappeared faster than she could fry them!

Last but not least, who could forget about the CNY candies and cookies that are always abundant on the cookies tray? I used to have the task of distributing different cookies and sweets on different compartments of the tray, and never failed to steal a piece or two in the process. My favourite, without a doubt, is the peanut candies, which is really peanuts coated with caramel. They’re sweet, but I could go on and on eating them and end up getting a sore throat afterwards but I’d still do it all over again.

After enjoying these CNY goodies, does it make you wonder sometimes, how did they all come about? Why did we have tradition like this and whether they mean anything? Thanks to our elders, age-old Chinese New Year traditions are practised till this day. So let’s help keep them alive.

More Grandfather goodness here www.youtube.com/user/maxis.
If you have a funny yeh yeh story to tell, share yours on http://facebook.com/maxis or Twitter using #yehyehstories.

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18 Comments
  • February 9th, 2013 12:21 AM
    Sean

    Thanks for a heartwarming post that’s making me look forward to spending time with my loved ones this Chinese New Year. Hope you have a wonderful week with Saucer and your parents, Mei Yee, and may the year of the snake be an auspicious one for us all! :D

    [Reply to comment]

    iamthewitch Reply:

    Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your lovely family Sean! May the new year of Snake bring you lots and lots of culinary adventures!! :)

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  • February 9th, 2013 12:57 AM
    [SK]

    enjoy your first CNY celebration in Sydney, hehehe, and i guess more to come?? :p

    [Reply to comment]

    iamthewitch Reply:

    Hehe thanks SK! It doesn’t matter where we celebrate CNY at, but who we celebrate it with, agreed? :)

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  • February 9th, 2013 1:02 AM
    Baby Sumo

    Hello dear, wishing both you and Lionel a lovely CNY abroad :)

    [Reply to comment]

    iamthewitch Reply:

    Thanks dear! Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your precious babies! :)

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  • February 9th, 2013 4:14 AM
    foongpc

    I love yee sang (though I think they are ridiculously priced this year!) and nian gao. Yummy!! Happy CNY to you and Saucer! : )

    [Reply to comment]

    iamthewitch Reply:

    Yea yee sang’s price has always been increasing! Maybe it’s time we learn to make our own! :P Happy Chinese New Year to you Panda Foong!!

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  • February 9th, 2013 6:27 AM
    sycookies

    Happy chinese new year . May this year be a great one for everyone.

    [Reply to comment]

    iamthewitch Reply:

    Happy Chinese New Year to you too! The year of snake will hopefully bring us lots of luck and fortune! :)

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  • February 9th, 2013 9:38 AM
    suituapui

    At least you have Saucer there. If alone, the feeling will creep in at midnight…when it is dark…and lonely….and you’re thinking of all the fun everyone’s having back home…all the food…the ang paos…the fireworks and firecrackers…. Sobs! Sobs! Sobs!

    But that is the choice you made – to leave everything here and make the best of what there is there. All the best in the coming Year of the Snake.

    Sing Nien Khuai Ler, Qong Xi Fa Cai to you and Saucer.

    [Reply to comment]

    iamthewitch Reply:

    I can’t imagine how it would be without Saucer here! That said, it’s not the first time we spent CNY away from home, since we had our honeymoon during CNY a couple of years back, and it was wonderful. :) My parents are coming soon so all is not lost! :) Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your family too STP!

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  • February 11th, 2013 8:10 PM
    small Kucing

    Gong Xi Fatt Chai!

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  • February 11th, 2013 9:54 PM
    Hong Wei

    Nice post!
    Gong xi fa cai !!!! = )

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  • February 12th, 2013 4:02 AM
    Ania

    Happy Chinese New Year! :)

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  • February 12th, 2013 4:06 AM
    Ania

    great videos :) Happy Chinese New Year!

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  • February 15th, 2013 1:32 AM
    ciki

    Happy CNY and Happy Vals day to you and Saucer!

    [Reply to comment]

      

  • February 16th, 2013 9:52 PM
    Kelly

    Happy Chinese New Year! The yeh yeh stories are so cute!

    [Reply to comment]

      

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