Gong Xi Fa Cai
Trip Start Oct 20, 2004
44Trip End Apr 26, 2005
One of the best things about returning from Sri Lanka (besides the food) was our timing; our arrival in Singapore coincided with Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is determined by the lunar calendar; therefore, this year's celebration began on February 9th. For a few weeks the city is filled with red lanterns, twinkling lights, festive decorations, lion dances, and department store sales. Oh - and lots of chickens (this is the year of the rooster).
In addition to offering great deals and amazing parades, Chinese New Year is a holiday steeped in tradition and superstition. Everything - including the gifts exchanged - has symbolism. For example, mandarin oranges symbolize wealth and good fortune, baked goods with seeds symbolize fertility, and red dates symbolize the hope for prosperity
Our friend, Ronnie, invited us to his wife's family's house for dinner during the New Year's Eve. They graciously welcomed us into their home, and we spent a fun evening talking, laughing and sharing a delicious traditional steamboat dinner. The dinner is truly a communal affair, beginning with yu sheng. Yu sheng is a shredded vegetable sashimi salad. Once the plum sauce dressing is poured over the salad, everyone stands around the table and tosses it high over the bowl with their chopsticks. It's fun to toss the salad, but even more fun to eat it. Following the yu sheng, plates of raw seafood, vegetables, and noodles were brought out for the 'steamboat.' Using little baskets, we cooked our seafood and veggies in the boiling hotpot, together creating a delicious broth by the end of the meal. The dinner was a unique and fun experience. However, most of all it felt great to be openly welcomed and accepted by a wonderful family, as we've recently been missing our own.