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Friday, February 12, 2016

Yu Shang 2016

I am back from my Chinese New Year break, pallies! Fatter and poorer though - fatter from all that feasting and poorer because of the Ang Pow distribution! My boys say they raked in more of the red packets this year than last year! And today is only the 7th day of the Chinese Lunar Year. The festivities last for 15 days!

For me, the best part of the Chinese New Year is the reunion dinner, which is kinda like the Thanksgiving Dinner in the west but instead of turkey, we have dishes that are symbolic and homophonous with auspiciousness.

We always start off with "Yee Sang" as the first course. The fun begins with the communal tossing of the ingredients into the air with chopsticks while wishes are expressed out loud to mark the start of a prosperous new year and it's customary that the higher you toss, the greater your fortunes! Invariably, the tossing ends in raucous laughter and food all over the table!
Each ingredient has an auspicious meaning as explained in the video below.

Getting ready with our chopsticks...
The tossing begins! Toss high to achieve great heights!

An example of an auspicious and symbolic Chinese New Year dish -  lychee for close family ties and duck for fertility. Several members of our clan have just gotten married! This should explain the increase in Ang Pows. According to Chinese tradition, Ang Pows are generally given by married couples to single people.
At the centre is a sugar sculpture of Shou, one of the three wise men, Fu, Lu and Shou, used in Chinese culture to denote the three attributes of the ultimate good life. Fu for prosperity, Lu for ambition/career and Shou for longevity. According to legend, Shou was carried in his mother's womb for ten years before he was born, and already an old man when delivered. He is recognized by his high, domed forehead and the peach which he carries as a symbol of immortality. He is usually depicted as smiling and friendly, and may sometimes be carrying a gourd filled with the elixir of life.
Fu, Lu, Shou

A video to explain how "Yu Sheng" (Yee Sang in Cantonese) is eaten.

Cookies I made for Valentine's Day

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. Such cute Valentine cookies; enjoyed reading about how you celebrate the new year; lots of great traditions it seems!


  2. I really enjoyed reading about your traditions to celebrate the new year, I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed it! #KCACOLS

  3. Fab post and my kind of post with all of the food :-) #kcacols

  4. That sugar sculpture is amazing! Gorgeous cookies as always too :) #KCACOLS

  5. Okay...after watching the video, I'm gonna go ask the Chinese girl at work if she celebrated with Yu Sheng. She's gonna start to wonder who's filling me in on all of this stuff. ;)

  6. There is a comedy TV show here in the US called "Fresh Off the Boat" and the last episode was all about Chinese New Year and the kids' quest for red envelopes!

  7. the noodle toss looks fun.. great to be learning so much of the Chinese New Year.

  8. Wow, those cookies are amazing. Also your meal and celebrations sound lovely. I wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
    Amanda #kcacols

  9. Wow, the festivities look like so much fun! Your cookies are so pretty too!

  10. The tossing of the food sounds fun! I can see how it would get you laughing too. ;) Happy New Year!

  11. I enjoyed reading about your traditions! Tossing the food sounds like so much fun! Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!

  12. This is so interesting. I didn't know any of this. It looks like it is so much fun. The last video was really informative and made me laugh! I love learning every week more and more about your traditions. Your cookies are amazing as always. Hope you have a fantastic Chinese Year. You still have another week of celebration so keep having fun! Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! :-) x