… i think i have never actually devoted a post to Chinese New Year!
i have looked at the archives and have not found one post on this – which is strange considering how much i like the festivities of celebrating Chinese New Year. A celebration which traditionally lasts 15 days, but of course, in these modern fast-paced times, no one stops for that long to celebrate anymore.
When i was growing up, it was a huge thing. My mum started preparing 2 weeks ahead for Reunion Dinner (the eve of Chinese New Year), where all the extended family came to us for dinner. There is this special dish she makes only for Chinese New Year – Ayam Buah Keluak (Black Nut Chicken Curry) because you need to soak the nut for 2 weeks. Then crack a tiny slot in the hard shell, remove the flesh of the fruit, mix half of that with minced meat, stuff the mixture back into the nut and use the other half of the fruit-flesh to make the curry. So much work!
Then there is all the yummy Chinese New Year goodies – pineapple tarts (i LOVE these), Bak Kwa, Love Letters, Kueh Bangkit and so many other ones, along with all the mandarin oranges i could peel and eat as well as roasted peanuts, sunflower seeds and sweets. Also Yu Sheng – Fish Salad which we toss for good luck. Not to mention the kids all got red-packets (ang baos, filled with a small amount of cash).
We would spend 2 whole days visiting family and friends, exchanging greetings and blessings for the coming year. There are some people we only get to see during this festive season so it is indeed a special time.
Now that we have moved to a “western” country which doesn’t celebrate Chinese New Year and we no longer go back to Singapore for the celebrations (logistically not practical now with the school term), i miss them.
This year i decided maybe it’s time to highlight some traditions again, now that my boy is bigger and understands more. He really only remembers collecting the Ang Baos and not much beyond that cos he was so small when we did go back to celebrate with family.
So while i didn’t make Reunion Dinner, i did make a 1st Day of Chinese New Year dinner for the 3 of us. Cooking one of my favourite Nonya dishes – Chap Chye, and Cantonese Steam Fish as well as Stir-Fry Ginger Beef. It was a tiny affair but still…
And this year we also gave my boy an actual Ang Bao when normally it would just go to his bank account. He was glad about that cos now he gets to actually spend it, instead of mummy putting it into his bank.
So here i take the opportunity to wish one and all a very Blessed Happy Chinese New Year – it’s the Year of the Horse so may you gallop into peace and good fortune.