As the Chinese saying goes, “A family with an old person is a living treasure of gold.” My grandfather left us when I was really young but I am so glad that my 83 years old grandmother is still very healthy and alert at this stage.
She loves telling us stories about our yeh yeh (grandfather). Their love stories and their untold terror and hardships during the Japanese Occupation time really moved me. She also thought us a lot about Chinese New Year traditions – our yeh yeh’s way.
Days before Chinese New Year, my family would give the house a thorough cleansing and “makeover” to sweep away all the bad luck and make way for good luck in a brand new year. My popo loves to decorate the living hall with paper cutouts of zodiac of the year and upside down “fu” that symbolize luck of fortune has arrived. Various food and offerings are put up at the altar of god and ancestor as a form of respect and appreciation.
Our family will also help popo in whipping out CNY goodies; from arrowhead crisps and chicken floss spring roll to sweet treats like almond cookies and groundnut cookies.
The utmost important CNY event in our family is…reunion dinner! My parents are so going to kill me if I excuse myself from any of these dinners as yeh yeh has got high priorities on “Tuan Yuan” (reunion) during his time. Family members would gather around a round table, chit chatting while savouring on various traditional dishes.
On the seventh day of Chinese New Year, which is also the common man’s birthday in Chinese beliefs, we do Yee Sang (raw fish salad) to celebrate our mutual birthdays. Yeh Yeh used to say toss the colourful salad high and say Lo Hei at the same time to usher in prosperity and abundance for the year.
Watch this interesting video about Lou Sang.
How I wish my yeh yeh is here with us, year after year, celebrating this special occasion together.
Let’s not forget about Chinese New Year traditions especially for the younger generations for us. Help keep them alive and practise it year after it. If you are interested in watching some Grandfather Stories, or share your own, please do so on http://facebook.com/maxis or Twitter using #yehyehstories. It will be interesting and educational at the same time!
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