Working in Singapore exposes a foreigner for variety of cultures. As we all know, Singapore comprises of three races: Chinese, Malay, and Indian. With these three races in harmony, the propensity of racial and culinary fusion is inevitable.
Each year, mostly in the earlier part, Singaporean celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year. Each year corresponds to a Chinese animal zodiac which symbolizes the Chinese Lunar calendar culminating a 12 – year cycle. The 12-year period belongs to the 12 different animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, & Pig) . Chinese culture believes that people belonging to each animals exhibits the same pattern or set of behaviours. The animals would symbolize the compatibility and which animal would show a sign of good luck for the current year.
The Chinese lunar new year celebration would last for 15 days beginning from the start of the new year. It is during this time when the Chinese would commence the family visits, gatherings, dinners, and the like. Hong baos or red pockets given by the married Chinese are of abundance at this time of the year. Businesses will definitely celebrate the good will and the good start of the Chinese lunar new year.
Lo Hei or Prosperity Toss is prominent this time of the year.
This year is the Year of the Dragon – 2012.
For the last couple of years, I had the chance to experience the Lo Hei celebration – Malaysia and Singapore combined. It is a jolly gathering and tossing as it is said that you have to have a wish during your toss and the higher the toss, the greater the chance of making your wish possible! (Wink!). Sometimes, it is your friends who will wish for you during the Lo hei (tossing)!
During the Lo hei celebration, you will be served with Yusheng (it is also called Yee Sang). It is a very colorful raw fish salad with shredded vegetables, oils, etc. It is served in big plates with a longer chopsticks which is used during the tossing.
You will notice there are 2 chopsticks in this picture. The chopsticks in the most right of image is the longer chopsticks used in the tossing celebration.
The Mandarin oranges are present everywhere during Chinese new year. Mandarin Oranges symbolizes good fortune and abundance. In a traditional manner, the Teochew delicacies are served in this restaurant.
This is the colorful Yee Sang. When served, the celebrants would wait for everybody in the table to be present before the ceremony begins.
When the ceremony starts, other ingredients will be added to the Yee Sang. While the hostess is pouring the ingredients, she recites the ingredients and the symbol of such. Ofcourse, all languages spoken are in Mandarin…
Once the Yee Sang ceremony is finished, the prosperity tossing will begin. There can be loud noises depending on the crowd celebration – that is the Lo Hei event…
After the tossing is complete, the proper meal will be served. And this time, traditional tea will be poured unlimited.
The unlimited pouring of tea…
You will be served with the set of meal catered for the event.
All in the menu is served. Do not be worry on your diet… the food in the menu is served in a conservative amount… (wink).
Wishing a prosperous Dragon Year to all!
Til next time. Au revoir.