Grandma Ling nodded sadly. Joie only knew very little about the Chinese customs when it came to wakes and funerals, but she didn’t know that a mother couldn’t attend her own daughter’s wake and funeral. So a mother couldn’t say a proper good-bye to her own daughter?
“That’s very stupid,” said Joie.
“That’s the custom,” said Grandma Ling sadly.
“Grandma Ling, how are you going to say good-bye to my mom, your daughter?”
“What happens if you turn up at the wake and the funeral?”
“Joie, in Chinese custom when it comes to wakes and funerals, we Chinese people take it very, very seriously. If the customs are not followed and obeyed, there will be bad luck, ill fortune, and disaster within the family.”
Joie didn’t say anything.
“Joie, during the funeral, you must send your parents off well and properly, especially for me, OK?”
(Photo credit – Xlibris Publishing)
Yup, I said it. I sniff books, and I’m being honest about it. I don’t know what it is, especially with new books. I believe that true writers/authors sniff books. It’s a way for us to emotionally connect with the books. I like the smell of new books when I walk into a bookstore. It’s just so emotionally captivating. When I reach out for a new book, I would look around me before putting it close to my nose. Or if I buy a new writing book to write my drafts in, I would always turn to the first page, give it a sniff, before penning down the words. I love it.
Happy Chinese New Year 2015 to all. As many know, Chinese New Year is a time where majority of those of Chinese descendants, come together with their family and friends to celebrate. It is a festive period involving lots of good company, food, money giving, traditional entertainments, and lots of laughter.And of course, we cannot forget about the Chinese rice balls, which is eaten during festive seasons like Chinese New Year, New Year, and for some, during the Christmas season as well. The colour red have always been a symbolic colour for Chinese New Year. According to an old Chinese myth that I know, there was once a beast with the body of a bull and the head of a lion called, Nian. Every beginning of the year, Nian would come out from the mountains where it was living and terrorize a village. It would eat their crops, and if there were any villagers in the way, it would eat them too. One day, a strange man came to visit the village and told the villagers that the beast can be defeated by loud noises, bright firelights, and the colour red. So the villagers would hang and display bright red lanterns and fire crackers everywhere. In the end, Nian was terrified that it returned to the mountains and was never seen or heard of again. That is why Chinese New Year is filled with loud noises and firecrackers. And in memory of Nian, there is the symbolic and well known lion dance.
There are several versions of the Nian myth, but they are all similar in a way with how it ends.
Photo credits to Suzanne Yeang and Irene Soo. Thank you, Ladies, for the wonderful photos, as usual. And special thanks to Irene for always taking mouth-watering photos of the rice balls. I know nobody who can make rice balls as perfect as she can. Looking forward for more to come.
Gong Hie Fatt Choi to everybody.
Other posts on past Chinese New Year and rice balls:
Merry Christmas to the year 2014 everybody.
This year (2014) has been a turbulence year for me and my family. But in the end, we got to where we wanted to be. So joy to the world :)
Also, this year marks the very first time me and my family made turkey dinner all on our own. In the past, we would have turkey made by my in-laws, a whole roast chicken, or in my case, lamb chops.
When my parents were around, we would always have lamb chops instead of turkey during Christmas. I don’t know why, exactly. We were the kind of family who loves lamb chops. But we don’t often have it, because we don’t want to get tired of eating it. During ‘normal’ days, my mom would cook the usual minted grilled lamb chops. But every Christmas, she would cook a giant lamb leg. For only the three of us, it was a lot to eat, and we enjoyed it. It was our family tradition. Then when my mom got sick and had to stay one Christmas in hospital, my dad would keep the tradition going. So he would cook the lamb chops instead. But he wasn’t a very good cook. In fact, he wasn’t a cook at all. However, it was his hard work and attempts that was counted for. Although he did burn the lamb a little, I still enjoyed it. Sadly, the tradition stopped when my parents passed away. That was a long time ago.
Today, my family have our own tradition. Since marrying my Filipino husband, we’ve always had roast chicken or turkey cooked by my in-laws during Christmas. But this year, we moved into our new home, therefore, we have our very own turkey tradition. Our turkey is made half tradition (like the usual tradition) and half Filipino style. What I mean by Filipino style, I mean the way Filipinos grill/cook a whole chicken. And my husband, who is a qualified chef by the way, so don’t worry, is using that technique to cook the turkey. This might be confusing to some, but any Filipinos reading this would know what I mean. And the key to a successful Filipino chicken, or turkey in our case, is lemongrass.
In the end, I loved the tradition-Filipino turkey. But my husband was disappointed, because we didn’t have lemongrass. We spent most of our time shopping for pressies that we left the turkey shopping till last. Big mistake. My husband did try his best, but I could see the disappointment. However, I told him that it is only our first tradition-Filipino turkey. There will be plenty more Christmases to come. So next year, we will be prepared. Sorry I didn’t capture a photo. I will do so next year. And hopefully, my chef will succeed in his new-found turkey recipe.
Merry Christmas and looking forward to a busy new year.