Saturday, February 7, 2015
Sifu Sabrina explains the auspicious food symbols for Chinese New Year
[Pix of model for illustration purpose only]
I press Sifu Sabrina’s phone number on my cellular and when she answers the call, I say into the mike, “Hi there, how about a quickie on the auspicious food symbols for Chinese New Year?”
“Sure. First is Mandarin orange. This is a must-have for CNY, as kam in Cantonese is homonymous with ‘gold’. But never place four oranges on a plate as an offering to the deities. Four is not a good digit. Apart from the Mandarin orange, a pomelo is also an auspicious fruit. Display a few of them in the living room for as long as possible, at least fifteen days.
“Next is fish which should be served whole during the eve of CNY for the reunion dinner. While eating, don’t break off the tail or head to give it to Kitty or Sparky or for whatever reason. Leave the head and fish intact as this act symbolizes a good start and a good ending for the forthcoming year.
“Third is shrimp. In Cantonese it is homonymous with laughter. Similarly, oyster will bring in good tidings because it is homonymous with ‘good things’ in Cantonese. Green vegetables should also be part of CNY dishes to preserve good family ties because qing in Mandarin means ‘intimate’ or ‘close’. Two other popular CNY food items are hair seaweed which rhymes with ‘prosper’ and long noodles which stands for longevity.
“Finally, display lots of nian gao or sticky rice cakes around the house. Gao means high so, hopefully, they will usher in high achievements. In the olden days, aspiring Mandarins ate nian gao in the hope of passing the Imperial Examinations.”
“You're welcome. Don’t forget to bring an ang pow if you visit me during CNY."
“Yes, Ewe, I’m single. Amount is not important. It's the symbolism of receiving a red packet that's significant."
“What! A sex bomb, er, I mean a pretty woman like you still single? Have you been too choosy?”
“Nope, I’m born in the Tiger year. I will have happiness in marriage with only two kinds of men. Either a man born in the Tiger or Dragon year.”
“Why not for men born under other animal zodiac signs?”
“Should I marry a non-Tiger, he may suffer from bad luck in business or in his career. His health may also deteriorate. There’s a possibility that he may die early. I don’t want to be young widow. And it's also not fair to that gentleman."
“Can I play match-maker? I mean introduce a Tiger man or a Dragon man to you? I have a few friends who -- ”
Click! She ends the call.