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.
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.
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.
We also have lots of sweets around the house. In our pretty box are sweetened, dried coconut, lotus, lotus seeds and winter melon.
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!
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!
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.
Finally, as a festive start to new year, I painted my nails in red and gold.
To all who celebrate CNY, Gung Hei Fat Choi and also Happy Valentines day!