Sunday, February 14, 2010

CNY in a snapshot.

While I didn't take photos of me partying it up at Chinese New Year parties, I thought I would share an insight into what CNY is like for my family and I. My family are pretty traditional and some Rituals we follow every year are cleaning the house before the new year, so that year before is swept away to welcome in the new, much like Spring cleaning. We also buy pomelo leaves and these are boiled up with water and the water is used to cleanse, and wash away any negatives of the previous year and bring you luck and good fortune in the next. It might be seen as superstitious but I really like the traditions as I am so used to them and I think some of them make a lot of sense!

We have a lot of these red pieces of paper stuck on doors around our house. Each one is different and is considered an auspicious phrase. This one says 'Gung Hei Fat Choi' which means Congratulations and prosperity.
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We also have lots of clementines with leaves on which is lucky and a prosperous symbol. Chinese New Year is very symbollic for example some of the things we eat, are eaten because their translations have double meanings. For example, 'fat choi' is usually eaten and the meaning literally translates as prosperity.

Both the oranges and the sweet glutinous rice balls below are offerings to the 'Goon Yum deity'. These offerings are placed in front of our house shrine along with tea, incense and a prayer for good luck.
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This is the leftovers of the pretty paper that is burnt as an offering to ancestors and wishing them well in their life in heaven, these represent different things like clothes and money.
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We also have lots of sweets around the house. In our pretty box are sweetened, dried coconut, lotus, lotus seeds and winter melon.
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Possibly the most well known aspect of Chinese new year is the laisee (which is Cantonese for Lucky Money) and they are given to children in the family. These empty ones were lying around after my mom filled many for my cousins and sisters...and me of course! The first one is a personalised one as the character in the centre of the circle is my surname!
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Another extra special reason to celebrate was the arrival of my brand new baby cousin, Jasmine whose parents flew over from Hong Kong to spend CNY with us. Here she is with my grandma, she is so adorable!
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My grandma loves nothing better than to make festive treats and she is famed for her Nian Gao. This is a glutinous rice cake and the picture below is the Nian Gao cut into little slabs and lightly cooked in egg. It's more of a dessert/snack as it is sweet tasting and has a double meaning which roughly translates to prosperity for the new year.
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Finally, as a festive start to new year, I painted my nails in red and gold.
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To all who celebrate CNY, Gung Hei Fat Choi and also Happy Valentines day!
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47 comments

  1. Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Chinese NY!

    P.S.: ♥Please don't forget to join the Howbeadyful giveaway!♥

    Good luck!

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  2. 恭喜發財! 新年快樂! ♥
    Hope you have a lovely time with your family!
    xx

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  3. Yum...I love the food pics so much. You do them so wonderful.

    Aw, so great about the baby being there too.

    Much happiness!

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  4. Kung Hei Fat Choi Winnie. And a happy Valentine's day to you too.

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  5. Happy Chinese New Year!
    I hope you and your family have a lovely time celebrating

    Kirstie Marié
    x

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  6. I went through all that during my childhood for Chinese New Years !! And your baby cousin is so cute especially the cheeks :) Mon Mode Blog

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  7. thanks, this was such an informative post. :) my little version of celebrating cny is going to get chinese for lunch. i've known the lady who owns it for a long time, so she gave me a little red envelope with money too, which i thought was super-sweet. <3

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  8. that's so cool! I don't think any of my chinese friends here in São Paulo have kept up with these beautiful traditions, unfortunately. Having no traditions at all, I am a great admirer of you!
    Happy Chinese New Year!

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  9. I miss the CNY celebrations, ang pow and fire crackers..glad you having fun with the family..great photos:)

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  10. HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR :)
    and happy valetines too, of course!

    Thanks for your sweet comment- it def cheered me up!

    Please enter my giveaway? :)

    LONDON--ROSE.BLOGSPOT.COM

    xx

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  11. Love that ring, great post and thanks for the comment :) xxx

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  12. Looks like a really fun day:)!! Love ur nails too:)!!

    thestylestrutter.blogspot.com
    xxx

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  13. Lol how do you know all the history? I just eat those glutinous things :D

    and nian gao!!!! I love that stuff!

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  14. its great to see chinese all over the world celebrate the CNY !
    i feel like we're all reunited !

    HAPPY VALENTINES <3 !
    thx for the comment on my blog
    michelle . @ GLISTERS&BLISTERS

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  15. Happy Valentine and Happy CNY!
    i have award for you in http://lovingthatyouwant.blogspot.com/2010/02/yesterday-was-fairytale.html
    hope you passed it ;)

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  16. wow all of it looks so fun! i'm so jealous of those who get to celebrate! i wanna eat all the desserts! :D

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  17. This post is so interesting, and everything looks so pretty :)

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  18. this looks amazing! hope you had a lovely time an happy new year!xx

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  19. Hi there-sounds like a wonderful time and always, yummy food, lucky you!!

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  20. Happy Belated V-day!! BOY do those Lotus Root candies look DELISH...

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  21. shin nian kuai le! looks like so much fun, :)

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  22. Happy CNY! Great pictures, its interesting to see how people celebrate it.
    xx

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  23. Thank you for sharing your traditions with us! That glutinous rice cake looks absolutely delicious.

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  24. Your grandma's cake looks delicious!

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  25. Delicious - and the ring is so cute!

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  26. Hope you had a great Chinese New Year!! I actually grew up in Hong Kong, so Chinese new year celebrations and traditions always remind me of my childhood!

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  27. what a great idea for a post. such an insight, thank you for sharing it

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  28. Lovely...love all that is from asia...I am crazy about it!

    you are the most lovely girl Winnie :)

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  29. that was really interesting, u learn something new everyday lol. oh and the baby cutie cutie pie!

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  30. wishing you a wonderful holiday. sorry, I'm late. I so love your pics. A very sweet post!

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  31. It looks like a fun time. Love your ring.

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  32. cute nails!!! hope you had a great NEW YEARS!!!! i did!

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  33. Love all of the traditions. Happy Chinese New Year! My family and I actually don't do all of that, but I loved reading about everything you guys do! I knew about the clementines and the symbolic dishes, which we do eat, and of course the red envelopes! And Jasmine is soo cute!! xo, Mel

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  34. Such beautiful pictures and thanks for explaining it all! Happy Chinese New Year!!

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  35. happy CNY!
    your day seems to be very chinese oriented, so different to mine lol

    i love nian gao! it's my favourite.
    really pretty ring too :)

    styledummie.blogspot.com
    x

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  36. Yum I love tong yoon!! What flavour was in the middle? I love sesame and peanut!

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  37. Love this - especially your nails! Happy new year!

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  38. your baby cousin is adorable!
    happy belated chinese new year & valentine's day!

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  39. Happy belated CNY! It looks like you had a marvelous day.

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  40. Im sending you a belated happy CNY hope you had a great one - it was interesting to read what you do for the day :D

    xXx

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  41. Chinese New Year with your family sounds really fun, it would be great to experience it.

    From Dolly
    XXX
    http://dollydaydreamsdomicile.blogspot.com/

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  42. hope you had a good new year:) here in India we celebrate our tradtional new year as well and there are lot of similar things we do :)

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  43. what a lovely insight!! i just applied for a study china programme this summer i really hope i get it i'd love to know moe about chinese traditions

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