Posts tagged Chinese New Year preparations

My Chinese New Year 2009 Preparations – Part 1

Good evening, dear friends πŸ˜€

Well, I’m back here for a breather after 2 hectic days of preparations for theΒ  Chinese New Year Festival.Β  The phrase “preparing for Chinese New Year” seems innocuous and simple enough but actually, there a lots to be done every year in anticipation of welcoming good energies and a happy celebration of abundance with the arrival of the Chinese New Year (CNY), which falls on Monday, 26 January, 2009. πŸ˜€

As in every year and all Chinese households, about 3 weeks before the CNY, we would embark on a decluttering of the whole house – practically every inch of it. Broken things are either repaired or disposed, because they cause negative energy. All cobwebs are vacuumed, dust wiped off, walls given a good washing or repainting, creaky doors are oiled, cabinets/refrigerators and their contents are cleaned, linen cupboards are sorted out, ovens/stove top/cooker hood/windows are cleaned….and the list goes on and on….Β  πŸ™„

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My wall of gleaming glass blocks near my kitchen.Β  I had used a vinegar-water solution to wipe off the dirt easily and effortlessly

Once the whole house is cleaned and decluttered, we can actually feel the “electrifying” chi or energy in the house, because old chi has been removed, new energies have taken its place, and the house’s chi is moving….alive, in a way.

Next is the shopping of CNY stuff – wow, I don’t know where to begin listing them….from yesterday until the eve of CNY, I am shopping for something every day! πŸ˜†

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Mandarin oranges from China..a must during CNY because the word “kam” is a homonym (same sounding, different meanings) for “gold”. Boxes of “kam” are given as gifts to friends, neighbours, relatives as an auspicious and generous gesture.

The cover of the box has an auspicious Chinese character “Fu” or “Luck” in the centre and the red is an auspicious colour to mean a happy celebration. There is a lot of red seenΒ  everywhere at this time of the year…a sure sign that CNY is approaching...

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This is the first batch of my CNY goodies shopping …as you can see, there is a lot of red in the picture!Β  πŸ˜†Β  There are jars of traditional CNY cookies like “ribbons”, “loveletters,” “arrowroot or ngaku crisps”, “walnut cookies,” dried Shitake mushrooms, cans of lychee… some of these will go into a CNY goodie bag to be given to friends or relatives that we visit as a gift. This generous act is reciprocated by people who visit us at our home.

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This part of the CNY shopping is my husband’s and sons’ favourite – they get to buy their favourite carbonated drinks, soda pop, flavoured packet drinks…etc.Β  At the top of the picture are tissue boxes which have auspicous CNY words and are red in colour. I usually do not have such drinks often in my house because of their high sugar content but during the CNY, it is a treat for them to drink these to their hearts’ content! πŸ™„

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….I’m sorry but I have to stop here for now…my eyes are closing as I am typing this, I better go to bed soon. I will continue writing this tomorrow… πŸ˜‰

Good Night!

With peace and joy,

choesf πŸ˜€



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Chinese New Year Preparations – 2

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Assorted Yummy Chinese New Year Cookies

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Mandarin Oranges From China

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Homemade Kuih Bakul / Nian Gao

Good evening, dear friends πŸ˜€

Usually, I like to finish my decluttering and cleaning so that I will have peace of mind that all is clean in my house and we are ready for the Chinese New Year (CNY). Then, I will go shopping for all the things that I need like new brooms, new mops (old ones are thrown away), new floormats, various foodstuff, drinks, and mandarin oranges.

However, this year things went a bit differently πŸ™„ when my husband decided to take a half day’s leave to run some CNY errands now instead of waiting to do them at the last minute like we always did.

The first thing was to go to the bank to change new money notes to be used in ang pows (auspicious red packets containing new money to symbolise new chi). Then we went shopping for the CNY cookies and since I have decided to only make the traditional Pineapple Tarts and “Kok Chai” (Peanut Puffs) this weekend, the rest of the cookies had to be bought.

I had also bought some Kuih Bakul or Nian Gao from an elderly lady who makes them in her home every for CNY. Kuih Bakul is made from glutinous rice flour and sugar and steamed for 10 hours, hence the dark rich colour. Nian Gao means “every year higher and higher”, sort of like our luck gets better and better, i.e. great prosperity. Usually, I would trimmed the banana leaves near the top of the Kuih Bakul before offering it to our deities and ancestors during CNY together with many varieties of fruits.

Must haves for the CNY are the traditional cookies like Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Flour Coconut Milk Cookies), Kuih Kapit (Love Letters), Pineapple Tarts, Peanut Cookies, Peanut Puffs/Kok Chai, Dragon Cookies and Kuih Rose. The rest are the usual cookies that we can buy all year round like chocolate chip almond cookies, chocolate cookies, and other types of Westernised butter cookies. I will show close ups of these cookies when we serve them to our guests during CNY. Meanwhile, they are displayed on my table, waiting for CNY to be opened (see photo above)! πŸ˜†

My husband also bought an assortment of drinks –

* 2 cartons (24 cans in each carton) of Anglia Shandy

* 7 cartons of Yeo Hiap Seng’s Sugar Cane Drink, Wintermelon Drink, Chrysanthemum Drink, Lychee Drink and Soya Bean Drink

* 1 Carton of 100 plus

* 1 Carton of 7-Up

Therefore, with the drinks and cookies, we are loaded with lots of sugary stuff during the CNY! πŸ˜† Not to mention the feasting that will be going on for days. There is lots of food and drink to symbolise abundance during the new year.

Lastly, we bought 5 cartons of Mandarin Oranges as every year, we would give a box of them together with some cookies to our neighbours, and they would also give something similar back to us – so there is a lot of generosity going around in the giving and the receiving – good chi flow, I would say! πŸ˜‰

Today, I am almost done with the kitchen decluttering and cleaning. Tomorrow, it will be my laundry room and prayer room to be cleaned, to be followed by the top floor where our bedrooms are but at least my children will be decluttering their own bedroom themselves this weekend. I only have to check on them to make sure that they are doing a good job of it. Curtains are being taken down to wash and after the curtains, then it will be the bedsheet sets. Then, the ceiling fans , air-conditioners and windows have to be cleaned. With the bathrooms washed, all the floors mopped and the car porch scrubbed, my house would be completely cleaned.

Then, the CNY decorations would be up but I will have to go shopping for them with my daughters on Thursday and on Friday, we will be shopping for clothes, shoes and handbags. Weekend is baking time and planning the menu for the big Reunion Dinner on the eve of CNY. Phew! I hope I meet my deadlines! πŸ™„ πŸ˜†

I am see double now as I am typing this because I am so sleepy and tired….I’d better go to bed now….

Good night and sweet dreams! πŸ˜€

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