Chinese New Year: Part 1

Tomorrow’s the day! Chinese New Year is tomorrow and I am more than ready for some delicious food. CNY is among some of my favorite holidays because I get to have delicious food and I get red envelopes. For those of you not familiar with red envelopes, they hold money. Every year for CNY, all the married members of my family give out red envelopes to the kids. It’s sort of a sign of good fortune and prosperity. The red envelopes come with different sayings sort of like fortune cookies. Except fortune cookies are more Americanized than Chinese.

Today is what I like to call chaos clean day. My mom doesn’t give a hoot if I clean before New Years. If I don’t clean before CNY, she will have my head on a spear. Cleaning before CNY is important because you want to ring in the new year on a positive note. Also, it’s considered bad luck to do the cleaning on the actual day of CNY as Chinese people think they are sweeping away their luck. As I am currently typing this, my sister is busy cleaning. My dad is in the kitchen prepping for our feast for dinner. My grandmother made pastries for us! For those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning know I praise my grandmother to the sky with her cooking. Nothing I could ever buy at a restaurant will taste the same as popo’s (grandmother) cooking. She made two different types of pastries. One of them is savory and the other one is sweet. The savory one consist of green onions, ground pork, chinese sausage, and etc. It’s in a oval shape and remind me of flowers based on the way it is wrapped.
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The sweet one is like the sesame balls they sell at dimsum (yum cha) without so much sesame seeds on it. It’s the dark brown circle ones in the picture.
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My popo makes the sweet ones different than the ones you could buy at restaurants. She puts yams into the dough and they make them so much more delicious. They don’t look too appealing in the picture but I guarantee you they’re freakin delicious. And they have red bean filling in the middle. My favorite kind of sweets! šŸ™‚

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There are a ton of these plates around my house. I’m not sure what they represent but my mom always finds a way to stick some in my room.

Chinese people (aka my parents) are very “strict” about what they should eat for CNY. Some believe that certain foods will bring luck, wealthiness, and good health while other foods bring bad luck and fortune. Personally, I just want to eat because I know my parents pull all stops to make good food. So here’s the breakdown of foods in my family and what my mama said they represent. Egg rolls are a staple because they represent bars of gold (wealth). Noodles (usually rice vermicelli) represent longevity (health). Shrimp represents laughter (enjoying life/happiness). Fish represents having enough (abundance). Broccoli represents a new start (luck). Egg rolls literally are golden brown when you’re done frying them which makes them look similar to gold bars. Being wealthy in the new year is extremely important. Noodles are really long so they represent longevity. It’s bad luck to cut the noodles before you cook them or cut them before you eat them because it’s considered cutting your life short. Shrimp represents happiness because of how the word is pronounced in Chinese. Shrimp is “ha” in Chinese which could be similar to “haha” like a person is laughing. My parents usually make the fish whole and it represents having enough of everything because that’s important in the new year. Broccoli represents a fresh and growing new year. The stems on each piece of broccoli you eat represents the start of something new and it will blossom and grow.

I’m sure there are other foods that hold specific meaning but these were the main ones my mom told me about. Every year we go to the houses of my aunts and uncles and celebrate as a family. My mom said it’s important to start off the new year with a strong family presence. That’s it for part one. Come back for part two soon šŸ™‚

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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