I am not afriad of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today~William Allen White

Posts tagged ‘chinese new year’

Chinese new year in Singapore

This is the first time I spent Chinese New Year (CNY) in Singapore and Chinatown is definitely filled with bright red colors and the mood is festive and boisterous leading up to the celebration.

the year of the dragon started off on a good sign, a rainbow over Chinatown

this is the year of the dragon, one of those really great signs within the zodiac

The Chinese character for "blessing"

lots of flowers and positive and happy blessings written on red scroll paper to ring in a new year

lots of sweets for many happy sweet moments for the new year

traditional snacks for guests who stop by to greet and wish each other a great year ahead

the temple in Chinatown is decorated and prepared for all worshippers to ring in a great year

candles are lit for blessings made

wishes are written on placard and become a part of the wishing tree

 

Homemade Chinese Radish Cakes

During CNY (Chinese New Year), vendors at local wet markets would see the sales of white radish, preserved sausages, and dried mushrooms increase exponentially.  Chinese radish cakes (蘿蔔糕) is a very common “dim sum” dish that could be ordered in Chinese restaurants for breakfast or lunch; however, this is a must have during CNY.  In restaurants, customers are served three to four slices of pan-fried radish cakes when it is ordered; during CNY, radish cakes are bought in a 12-inch circular pan to serve to guests that drop by and offer their blessings.  It is very common for friends and relatives to chit-chat and catch-up up over a plate of hot and sizzling radish cake and Chinese tea . 

auntie gave me half a pan to eat, look at all the scallops, mushrooms & preserved sausages (my company's brand)

Many people nowadays purchase the radish cakes at supermarkets, but for the housewives that kept up the tradition of making the cakes themselves, it is a very delicious treat for the guests and visitors.  During CNY, the oldest generation of a family would stay at the home while younger relatives drop by to pay their respects and wish everyone in the family a prosperous and healthy year ahead.   My sister loves eating pan-fried radish cakes, and my aunt has picked up the skills of making home-made radish cakes last years and have been making it for everyone since.  I got to tell you, I love her recipe and it tastes so much “yummier” than the ones I could buy at supermarkets.  All the prettily wrapped up radish cakes at supermarkets seem to lack the “love” and “care” that I find in my aunt’s radish cakes.  I think my sister is going to be in HK for CNY next year, so she will definitely be in for a treat, since she is a huge fan of radish cakes!

my knife/cutting skills isn't all the great, but here is my attempt to slice them up before pan frying

i've to say my pan frying skills have no problems, fried to slightly crispy...though I've no presentation skills

2nd & 3rd day of CNY: It’s all about luck

Similar to other people in Hong Kong, I spent the 2nd and 3rd day of my Chinese New Year holiday increasing my luck, wishing the upcoming year, I’ll be EVEN more lucky, EVEN more better.  It is not improving, but increasing the level of luck for 2011.  I think year 2010 has been a great year, and I could feel that 2011 is a busy and hectic year in a very good way!  I have been told the year of the rabbit is very good for my horoscope , with lots of exciting adventures and great investment opportunties, so a little bit of luck is awesome!

Step 1:  Visit a temple

I am a Christian, so I do not burn incense or make offers as per other believers, but it was fun visiting the temple and soak in the atmosphere.  While I did not burn incense, I did “turn” the windmill to “turn” the luck the right way, and beat on the drum for a good year!

Step 2:  Head over to the wishing tree

Write down your wish and throw it up to the wishing tree; rumor has it the higher you throw, the higher the chances your wish would come true.  Hmm.. it took me a few tries to get my wishing card up onto the tree, and I am very happy about it!

Step 3:  Participate in the 1st horserace of the season

By participating, I mean betting on the races and see where your luck brings you.  I played 2 races, but I didn’t win, but that’s ok, lady luck has my luck preserved for other matters.

Chinese New Year: It’s a family thing

Growing up and raised in Canada, Christmas in my favorite holiday, but CNY (Chinese New year) comes very close to my favorite too; especially now that I am living in Hong Kong, OMG, the spirit and the excitement for the holiday is so thick and palpable, I cannot help but be just as excited and looking forward to it.

The CNY holiday is a time for family members to mingle and sit together and enjoy each other’s company, I am usually bored sitting and waiting for lunch to be served because my grandparents, relatives, and their friends will be busy enjoying their games of mah jong, and I will just be sitting around wondering when lunch will be served or why I dropped by earlier that I should…hees.  Since last year, I started bringing little Pretzel along for these family reunions, since I am not married, I am given red envelopes of money, and since my grandparents love my dog to death, they will also give him red envelopes of money!

All $$bling bling$$ aside, because my grandparents are around and it is a very important holiday and tradition to them, their house would be decorated and you could really feel the holiday spirit during this special and festive time.  The maids will be busy in the kitchen preparing a giant lunch to serve over 20+ guests, and I will see my grandparents smiling and beaming so much their eyes are practically closed.  I tried scheduling my out-of-town holidays either before or after the CNY just to see my grandpa’s happy smile, the joy and happiness he feels during the holiday is written all over his face and I feel very special to be a part of that.

As I am writing and posting pictures of the special holiday from last year, I feel very excited and looking forward to the big holiday, which is happening in a little over 2 weeks!  On Feb 3rd of 2011, the Chinese will ring in the year of the Rabbit!

giving my beloved grandpa a kiss, as you could see, the garden is filled with colorful plants and kamquats to ring in the new year. It bugs me that I did not inherite is "tall" gene, an 80 years old man need to stoop because he is taller than me...but I am glad to say my sets of my grandsparents are not hunched in old age, so I should not hunch in the future too

a platter of sweet goodies to serve guests who dropped by to offer their well wishes for the new year

traditional turnip, taro, and brown sugar puddings that are sliced and fried and eaten after a big meal with tea as friends and family sit around chit chatting

maids are busy in the kitchen serving up giant platter of sumptious foods to ring in the new year

on my mom's side, my grandma insist of cooking the entire meal to be enjoyed with my uncles, aunts, and cousins. My grandma is a great cook, my mom did not inherit it, but I am glad to say that special gene has crossed generation and passed down to me, hahaha

little decorations and plants to make the home more festive and colorful

yuppers, little pretzel is offered red packets of money; my grandparents get such thrills when he bounced on 2 hind legs and his 2 front legs seem to be doing a "gong xi" action, but really, he's just begging for food

The holiday spirit has just started in Hong Kong

Before Christmas is even over, many shops have already started taking over pushing Chinese New Year goodies, and the CNY holiday doesn’t officially start until Feb 3rd 2011! 

this vendor has already rented out a high traffic shop selling red envelopes, where people will put money in to give to others that are younger. Sorry, this whole money giving is not between strangers, just between family members and friends when you visit and give each other well wishes. Since I am not married, that is the highlight of my day, I have started dressing my dog up in a pretty shirt with pockets for the event too, hahaha

 The holiday spirit is high in Hong Kong as people anticipate ringing in the new year again in a month’s time based on the Chinese calendar.  This holiday is the biggest and most important of all to Chinese people, it is a joyous festival of family gatherings; especially in China where there is a huge migrant population, these workers could finally head home to their villages for a much needed annual family gathering.

I have big plans for myself during my 7-day CNY (Chinese New Year) holiday; as Hong Kong is a vibrant and commercial city, major shopping malls and department stores are open for us shopaholic.  I am heading to Canada for a 7-day visit and hope to be in Hong Kong to participate in the various CNY celebration with a friend visiting from Singapore.

Anyone from overseas with a vacation in mind beginning of Feb should consider Hong Kong, lots of good events happening during CNY–in the following few sentences, I am going to sound like the tourism board of HK, but I am just so excited about my anticipated plans!

  • 1st day of CNY (giant CNY parade and float in the evening)
  • 2nd day of CNY (after giving my well wishes to my family and collecting a couple of red pockets with $$$, I am going to head to the famous wishing tree in HK and make a wish–in the evening, I plan on enjoying the giant display of fireworks that will ring in the new year)
  • 3rd day of CNY (heading over to the jockey club race course for the 1st bet of horse racing of the season–on the 1st day, there is usually a very special souvenir for all those that go to the race course)

Sounds pretty fun right?  I haven’t even mention the shopping and foods, my holiday mood will continue to accelerate!

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