Sunday, 10 February 2013

Chinese New Year

In about an hour, Singapore will be celebrating Chinese New Year 2013. This is the most important festival for the Chinese and Day 1 and Day 2 are both public holidays here. As Chinese New Year falls on a Sunday this year, Day 3 is also declared a public holiday. That means more mini time for me. Happiness!  

The Chinese character on the red packet means snake, painted in gold because this is the year of the Golden Snake. 

Tomorrow when I visit my relatives, I will be bearing some mandarin oranges or tangerines and red packets to give away. It is a tradition to bring tangerines because in Mandarin, 桔 also rhymes with 吉which means auspicious.

And we wear red for the same reason. That's my brother's family with Nat. Only reds were allowed in this picture.

Chinese New Year's Eve however has been the more important day for us since about 13 years ago  because on this day, everyone gathers at my parents' home for our reunion meal. This is Xan helping to prepare our lunch.

As my brother-in-law is a Malaysian, this is also the day Shir and her family drive home to Yongpeng, Malaysia to be with her in-laws to celebrate the new year with them.

Right after lunch, we usually prepare ourselves for a pretty elaborate ceremony to honour and give thanks to our parents and elders. We wish them a good year, good health and good fortune. Our nieces and nephews have also been trained to wish for us, their aunts, good looks. In return, the elders hand red packets to their children and grandchildren for good luck. 

I say an elaborate ceremony because preceding all that wishing is a skit that the children and grandchildren will have to put up. This is our way of welcoming the new year with laughter. This year's skit revolved around snakes of course. The story is about 2 snakes (guess who) who had become quite a nuisance to the village. In order to tame the snakes, 2 beautiful fairies were summoned to catch these snakes and make them repent.

Here are the 2 fairies, Tasha and Qesha with their equally beautiful make-up artists, SuZ and Shir. I was tasked with inventing the story, which usually is quite lacking in substance. It is often the make up and the acting that will be the more important elements of the skit.

That was the narrator directing the snakes.The 2 snakes were tasked with three things to do before they could be pardoned. 1st, they had to find 2 oranges, then they had to find the 2 most generous, wonderful and beautiful elders and then wish them. This they did and everyone lives happily ever after. 

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone.
May we all have a glorious, golden year with
good health, good fortune, good luck and of course, good looks! 


Remco said...

Happy new year Sans,

And you don't look like a snake to me, but much better ;-)
Enjoy your holidays

Kikka said...

Happy New Year with All the glorious and healthy things for you and your Loved ones!

The Old Maid said...

Happy New Year dearest Sam! May this year be a good one to you and your Family and your Friends!
Hugs and kisses and wishes from all of us!

Idske said...

Happy New Year Sans! This gives such an impression of joy and family togetherness and although we know about the red enveloppes, I didn't know about the other celebrations. Thank you for a very uplifting post!

Linda said...

Happy New Year! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful custom with us!

Rosamargarita said...

Pues feliz año nuevo chino Sans! La comida se ve deliciosa

Maria Ireland said...

Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year :) It looks like everyone is having fun. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day.
Hugs Maria

Ilona said...

Happy Chinese New Year for your family, Nat (of course;)) and you, dear Susan.
It is so great to read about the traditions in oyur country and family, thank you for sharing, dearie. And the looks delicious, wish I could be at your place :D!!
Warm hugs, Ilona

rosanna said...

Best wishes to you all!!

Piikko said...

Happy Chinese New Year to your family and to you dear Susan!

Margriet said...

Happy New Year dear Sans!

Flora said...

Thanks for sharing these precious moments with us always, and tell us about your life and your world ... I guess you're in full celebration and when you read will already be in the new year so ... Happy new year Sans :-)
Lovely hugs

Daydreamer said...

Dear Sans! Happy New Year to you and Yours! May it be filled with the Happiness and Love of Family as well as Prosperity and Health for all! Of course, Good looks too!! It is at times like these that the world seems so big to me..... You on your side telling about the customs and celebrations of the Chinese New Year... in T-shirts and Sandals... and me reading about it on my side.... wrapped in a blanket, drinking hot tea after shoveling 2 feet of new snow in a 25 mile per hour wind!!!
How we can be so far apart and so connected at the same time is a Miracle to me!!!
I LOVE that miracle... and I LOVE hearing about, and seeing your Family celebrating together! Thank you for sharing your world... Big and Small!!!

BiWuBär said...

Happy new year to you and your family! May it be a good one to all of you! It was so much fun to read this post and get a little glimpse of your traditions. And you've been tasked with inventing the story? My, how could this happen??? (LOL) My deepessssst bow to the dreamweaver of fairytalesssss (a little hissing to honor the snake)


Sans! said...

Thank you everyone, for your wonderful wishes :):).

I woke up for an early (6.15 am) run to the Botanic Gardens and I am getting ready to visit my aunt in another half an hour. It was so beautiful running in the misty streets and then to a garden that really feels like the wilderness. Peace, beauty, abundance, happiness. That was a good start to the day.

Hopefully, I can work on my minis when I am back. That will complete the day quite perfectly.

I hope you guys have a great Sunday too.

carmen said...

feliz año nuevo!

CWPoppets said...

Happy New Year, Sans!
I wish I could taste all this yummi food you are presenting here and be included in the party. :-)

Ascension said...

Feliz Año Nuevo!!!!
Me han encantado, esas preciosas fotografias y tu explicacion de como lo celebrais (estas muyyyy guapaaa)
...por cierto seria feliz celebrando el año nuevo chino porque las mandarinas son mi fruta preferida jejeje
besitos ascension

Fabiola said...

Happy new year!!
Bye Faby

Amy said...

Sans, I wish you and all your family a healthy, prosperous, joyous New Year. One thing I know is that it will be a creative one, and filled with adventure, both in the life of your imagination and in your actual life. Thank you for sharing your stories with me, and letting me see one enacted in real life, both as allegory and family joy.

The word for snake is so elegant, and so much like a snake. The English word always sounded descriptive to me, but the Chinese figure is a picture as well, like art and language merged.

Drora's minimundo said...

Happy New Year Sans! My best wishes to you and your wonderful family.
Shir is a popular name here. It means a song.
Hugs, Drora

Plushpussycat said...

Happy new year, Sans! All the best to you and yours in the coming year! Your photos are awesome! I'm having little flashbacks to my time spent in Taiwan. :-) xo Jennifer

Eva said...

How nice this post!! And how beautiful all you look! Love the snakes....

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