happy chinese new year to you and yours! may it be prosperous, delicious, and full of people you love and enjoy.
may your yusheng be tossed up with family and friends (and may it be full of delicious abalone or whatever fish catches your fancy).
and after you’ve got the most competent-in-mandarin person round your table to grace each ingredient with an auspicious phrase,
it’s a massive feast on my side, as it goes – the traditional steamboat replete with good marbled beef, succulent prawns, bouncy fishballs and lots of abalone; hainanese boiled chicken and the requisite auspicious dish of dried oysters cooked with mushrooms and fattchoy.
it’s a jolly good way to start the year (especially since the same good eating repeats at least six times in my celebrations).
when you’re ready to fill that tiny space always left for dessert – there are pineapple tarts and mochi and jelly and cake, and there are also marshmallow treats made by young cousins dipped in chocolate and crushed cornflakes, cheerio atop. and if that’s too much eating for you, perhaps a round of road crossing would help?
恭喜发财, and may you have a great year ahead!
for all my non-chinese readers, here’s a bit of context for your inner chinese man:
the chinese celebrate the start of the lunar new year – which shifts around in date year by year, but is almost always in late january or february. we spring-clean a month before, a literal cleaning out of our cupboards and a symbolic tossing out of all the unwanted dirt accumulated over the last year, and eat far too many cookies and mandarin oranges.
a key part of the tradition is the yusheng, which is a grated salad of radish, carrot, and pickled gingers and things topped with raw fish (salmon or abalone are common luxuries, but the traditional favorite is the difficult-to-obtain wolf herring, also known as ikan parang). the main dish is laid out with the grated salad and condiments, and we add things like oil and honey and crackers while saying auspicious phrases to bring in the new year. then toss up as high as you can, for great luck in the new year! it’s a messy affair – but it’s also the most fun during the celebrations (since fireworks are no longer a thing, you know).