It's been more than 2 weeks since my last post. Have been really busy with the preparations for the Lunar New Year. Making sure that we had all the "must have" tit bits and other things for the new year. Living "with" my in-laws forces me to ensure that we keep to the traditions, if not it will incur the wrath of the matriach. On the positive side, my children know more about the customs and traditions than most of their friends.
Here are some of the things that we had to do:
All the children (and adults, too!) must get their hair cut for the new year. It is to cut off all the bad luck, in preparation for the new year.
Everyone must wear new clothes during the first few days of the new year. NEW Pyjamas on the eve as well. On the third day, my son pulled out a favourite tee of his, and I mentioned to him that he had other new t-shirts in his cupboard. But boys being boys, he was just not interested in changing, and just ran out to play. Guess who got chided by his grandmother because he was not wearing a new shirt? He finally agreed to change his shirt after I told him that mummy got a scolding because he did not wear a new shirt!
Lights have to be left on through the night into the new year!
No sweeping of the floors on the first day of the new year. The maid was reminded to do the sweeping late on the eve of the new year, so that there was to be no sweeping on the first day....so as not to sweep away the good luck!
No scolding of the children on the first day. Had to constantly remind the children to adhere to house rules, about being polite, not eating too much candy, etc, etc, in my most gentle voice (which was pretty unusual for me, coz they usually do not listen until I raise my voice!) It helped that I was coming down with a sore throat and could not raise my voice.
Have to have all the "must have" new year goodies. You will be surprised at the variety that mother-in-law deems as must have: pineapple tarts, kueh bangkit, love letters, green bean cookies, kueh bolu, almond cookies, sugee cookies, kueh lapis, crispy cuttlefish, mixed candy, various types of "kana", melon seeds. (I am quite sure I missed out something from this list!) As for drinks, we are like the neighbourhood kopitiam, we bought: coke, coke light, F&N orange, kickapoo, green tea, ice lemon tea, pineapple juice, pocari. And we also made the red date longan tea!! Fortunately we have a BIG pantry. Guests always comment that our pantry looks like a neighbourhood mini-mart! Also mandarin oranges were bought by the boxes! In addition, all these "must haves" cannot be bought from anywhere. It has to be from the shop M-I-L deems the best. So we actually go around trying and tasting, and comparing before ordering them!!
Also, had to make sure we had adequate supplies of EVERYTHING, coz mother-in-law believes in ABUNDANCE at the start of the new year, no good to run out of anything during the 15days. So had to check all stocks. Definite must have: rice (container must be filled to the brim) and rice pot must have left-over rice from the reunion dinner.
Also, the must have dishes for the reunion dinner (not the steamboat that some families have): chicken curry, braised duck, kong bak pow, abalone soup, meat balls, chilly king prawns, chap chye, taukwa with chives (sng) and prawns, steam fish, and the 8 treasures pot (contains abalone, fresh scallops, dried scallops, dried oysters, fa cai, fish maw, sea cucumber, roast pork). As a result, most would over eat. Fortunately for me, mother-in-law does all the cooking!!
Well, that was a busy new year for me! More on it to come when I can find the time..... Xin Nian Kuai Le, Wan Shi Ru Yi!