My experience with Chinese New Year
So today is officially the 14th day of Chinese New Year. Tomorrow would be the 15th and marks the end of the festive season and the ‘real’ coming of the New year. As per our customary traditions, we would go and pray to my grandparents and my great great grandparents at the columbarium. Usually we go on the 15th day but because it lands on a Monday this year so we have to arrange it on a weekend because the adults have to work and the children have to study.
Usually we go and pray on their death anniversaries, 1st and last day of Chinese New Year, Ching Ming, 7th month and I think thats about it. In the past they used to be buried in the cemetery. But Singapore has a rule that you can only be buried for a certain amount of years before you have to exhume them and move them to a columbarium. This is necessary in order to save space and its actually alot more convienient.
I remember in the past we had to hike up and down to search for the tombstone and though it was somehow more ‘fun’ to go there because you get to trim the grass there and clean the tombstone and it just makes it more memorable. But the hiking was definitely no joke. Plus the 47238947923 people that go there is just fantastically amazingly horribly crampy. So yep, it was good in the past but its great now.
Anyway, remember I mentioned yesterday about people crowding around to watch the dragon dance so they can see the numbers made from the orange? Heres a picture of one. This one was taken from the columbarium.
So yea, its up to you to intepret which way to read the numbers and if your lucky you’ll strike!
These are some of the offerings that we buy to present to our ancestors so they can have a nice meal on these special occasions. Because my ancestors are all from Hainan Island, so they really LOVE CHICKEN RICE. Especially Hainanese chicken rice! And I heard from my parents that my grandparents make delicious chicken rice, unfortunately the skill wasn’t passed down because no one was interested.
Some of the offerings from other people, favourite food of their ancestors.
So usually we would buy chicken rice, fa gao etc etc to pray.
On such days we also burn ‘money’ to our ancestors so they can buy food and etc. Like in the picture, the original is the long yellow paper thing and you have to fold it into the ingot shape before burning. This is so that it becomes ‘money’ and is not just random pieces of yellow paper. The other type has to be rolled into something like an ingot shape as well. I forgot to take a picture of that one though.
These are the tablets. So usually after placing our offerings, we will pray. We usually place a really huge joss stick and light it. When its approximately halfway burnt, we go down and burn the offerings. After that we sit around and chat so the ancestors can eat. Then the youngest in the family will pua bei. Its this throwing of two red things. If its two up then it means smiling, one up one down means ok, two down means unhappy i think. I don’t really know.
So if its ok, then we can pack up the food and go. For most, they would eat the food there but because its abit troublesome for us so we would just packet the food home. So yea, its like a mini re-union whenever we go and pray. And its actually really nice to go there and pray for what you wish for, spend some time with your relatives etc. So yea.
To end off, I’ll show you a special picture of a very special sharks fin.
GREEN SHARKS FIN!
WAYYY COOL RIGHT? hahaha. and my mummy said its really delicious as well. With vinegar and pepper, you definitely can’t go wrong with GREENS SHARKS FIN!! ((:
Have a happy Sunday people. (: