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A Wonderful Secret and Several Things to Consider

There are many traditions, customs and superstitions to follow as a way to say goodbye to the past and hello to a new beginning.

This includes sweeping and dusting away the dirt as it signifies removing the bad luck from your home. It's also encouraged not to shower/bathe on New Year as you may wash away the good fortune. For me, cleanliness trumps superstition so don't worry, I won't be stinky or greasy

Since people are supposed to relax and basically do nothing on Chinese New Year, families will join together to eat on New Year's Eve known as the Reunion Dinner. Growing up, my mom and po-po (that's maternal Grandmother, not police) began preparing weeks prior to the extravagant feast. For example, the abalone (large sea snail) would be soaked for at least a week to enhance the succulent texture. Our family table we're filled with timeless and flamboyant dishes including pork belly, fried shrimp and Mama Lee's infamous steamed fish with soy sauce, ginger, green onion and cilantro.

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Food is an integral part of our culture so it's not surprise that certain foods are eaten or given as gifts to attract good health, happiness and prosperity.

RED FOODS

Red is the color of good luck and happiness so try to incorporate foods like pomegranate, red peppers, lobster, red velvet cake in your meal.

ORANGES, TANGERINES AND CLEMENTINES

Because of the bright and vibrant color, these fruits from the citrus family are associated with good fortune. This is a favourable gift for a host of a dinner party. When giving oranges as a gift, use both hands.

STEAMED FISH

Serving a whole fish with the head and tail intact represents prosperity and abundance. It should be directed to the guest of honor. Traditionally, half of the fish is served on New Year's Eve and the other half is saved for the following day. I think my people have starved for way too long so I will eat the whole fish.

NOODLES

Undoubtedly, noodles are a staple in Chinese cuisine. They are served at the end of the meal to wish a happy and healthy life for everyone. They are served at weddings and Chinese New Year. Noodles represent longevity (marriage and life) so they can't be cut or broken.

BUDDHA'S DELIGHT

This popular vegetarian dish consists of root vegetables like lotus and carrots. Add these traditional ingredients to attract more fortune: black moss, black mushrooms, lotus seeds, tiger lily buds, red dates and water chestnuts. Looks and sounds weird? Well, I grew up eating this stuff and they didn't call me the Human Calculator for nothing!

WHOLE CHICKEN

This poultry signifies unity and abundance because it can feed an entire family. The best way to prepare the whole chicken (including the head and feet) is by steaming or boiling. We also offer a chicken to our dead ancestors so they are satisfied in the after life. Continue judging my people.

PEKING OR BARBECUE DUCK

Duck represents fertility so they make an appearance at most weddings and Chinese New Year feasts.

DUMPLINGS

Steamed or deep-fried dumplings and pot stickers are shaped like ancient currency so enjoy them with your family to invite prosperity for all.

GLUTINOUS RICE CAKE

Don't be fooled by the word cake because this is more of a savoury treat. This is also a thoughtful gift because it symbolizes rising abundance for the New Year. When served in a round pan, it represents unity, togetherness and lovey-dovey emotions. If Barney the Dinosaur was Chinese, this would be his favourite snack.

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Posted in Renovations Post Date 02/19/2018


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