As mentioned in my previous post, this is my first year celebrating Chinese New Year with my in-laws. Therefore, everything we did this time around, from the places we visited, to the relatives, were all foreign to me! We began the first day of CNY with a happy mood, all dressed in new clothes and a wide smile. Our first visiting session was to an aunty’s place, someone I had not actually met before. There’s always a first time to everything, isn’t there? 🙂
Fresh Chrysanthemums in the house
As expected, the house was filled with relatives and noisy kids, running around with their toys and angpows. They were really nice-mannered though, for everyone of those kids started wishing me “Gong Xi Fa Cai” or Happy Chinese New Year when they saw me. Of course, I had to give them red packets or ‘ang pow’ in return. 🙂
witch and Saucer in new clothes 🙂
While waiting for the food to be ready, we took the opportunity to take some family pictures. After all, it isn’t always that everyone was dressed in new clothes! 🙂 Here are some pictures of me with the in-laws!
Us with sister-, brother-, nephew- and mother-in-law 🙂
Another with my brother-in-law’s newly-wedded wife!
Picture of the ladies 🙂
Soon, it was time for lunch, which started with home-made Yee Sang. Yes, the aunty actually made all the ingredients (except for the prawn crackers) on the plate by herself! Including the sauces! She apparently bought everything weeks in advance and marinated them herself. Amazing isn’t it? And best of all? It tasted wonderful! Even Saucer had multiple helpings of it because it tasted good and healthy. 🙂
Home made Yee Sang
Tossing the Yee Sang aka “Lou Sang”
After Yee Sang, we had some home-cooked dishes for lunch too, but I was too busy eating that I forgot to snap pictures of them! 😛 Look at what CNY has done to me! The meal was followed with lots of catching up among old cousins and distant relatives who most probably only meet up once a year. Even though it was my first time meeting them, I had no problems blending in the conversation. I guess the spirit of CNY just made everyone especially friendly, no? 😛
Big family picture #1
I was happy meeting everyone that day, especially the very talented aunty, who also happened to be quite a chatty person. I certainly look forward to visiting her again in future years. 😉
with the talented and kind aunty who prepared all the delicious food!
Time to leave!
After the long lunch, it was time to move on to the next agenda. According to my brother-in-law, we were supposed to go to the temple for prayers. So, off we went! Again, another first time visiting this temple for me.
Everyone of us was to go and burn some joss sticks and offer our prayers to the deity, hoping for a better and more auspicious new year ahead, with good health and wealth. 🙂
Even the young ones followed suit…
… as well as the old 😛
Heidi (niece-in-law) looked like she’s deep in prayers
After the prayers, it was off to yet another visiting session! This time, it was much shorter for most of us were already quite tired. Instead of socializing around, I played cards with Saucer and the kids. 😛
Big family picture #2
Finally, it was time to head home. But the day was far from being over! We still had not gone through the Tea Ceremony with my mother-in-law, a customary practice on the first day of CNY. So, exhausted as we were, all of us took turns to wish the seniors in the family well, starting with the youngest in the family.
Start with wishing the seniors “Gong Xi Fa Cai”, followed by multiple auspicious phrases
Then presentation of tea to the seniors in the family (be it parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, etc)
One could present the tea in style and with grace,
Or with the addition of a cheeky face 😉
The seniors would then give the younger ones red packets in return, also wishing them to do well in studies, work and in life.
Followed by an optional kiss and hug! 😛
Now for those who are married and already working, they also have to present red packets to their parents, on top of the tea.
Red packet to the mother-in-law
And the same process continues for everyone in the family, according to the seniority.
Red packets from mother-in-law (notice Heidi stealing a sip of the tea? :P)
Last but not least, we also had the chance to be on the receiving ends of the tea! It was my first time and it’s certainly quite an experience that made me feel 10 years older. 😛
Ang pow to the nephew-in-law
With that, it marked the end of the Chinese New Year Day 1 activities. By the time the tea ceremony was over, it was already almost 7pm, which meant dinner time! *gasp* Such a busy day filled with activities indeed. We had a vegetarian dinner in a restaurant and continued with a midnight movie. It was certainly a day where everyone felt extra energetic! But of course, what better way to start the Chinese New Year? 🙂