Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chinese New Year - Twentieth Day : 女娲再补天 or Nüwa Patch Up Sky Again

Today is the Twentieth Day of the Chinese New Year and is the day of 女娲再补天 or Nüwa Patched the Sky Again.

Legends has it that on the Twentieth Day of the Chinese New Year, a really big hole appeared in the sky and the Goddess 女娲 (Nüwa)补天 had to expend great efforts to patch up the hole in the sky.

As for the Tenth Day, on this day, in our family, we all eat 年糕 (niangao) to commemorate Her deeds.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Golden Penda

This is one tree that I always admire and the glory of them in full bloom can be seen in the little paved spacer at the end of Ban Hock Lane in Kuching between the Kuching Central Police Station and BSN. I used to stare in amazement at the trees covered with the golden flowers and it was a glorious sight! I have not been there recently to see the trees in bloom.

This tree is the Golden Penda  (Xanthostemon chrysanthus). We have one in our garden but not in the ground - rather in a large pot - which produces nice profusions of golden flowers every so often. We have not decided where to tranplant it in the garden! This plant is now in bloom.


This is one "must have" plant for any garden and if you have the space, plant it in the ground - it makes for a beautiful tree!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chinese New Year - Fifteenth Day : 元宵节 (Yuan Xiao Jie)

Today is 元宵节 (Yuan Xiao Jie) - the Fifteenth Day of the Chinese New Year and is also known as the Lantern Festival. It is also the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations

This morning, the family set up offerings to pray to our ancestors while in the evening, there will be a big family dinner.

However, for those young and unattached or unmarried, the evening is also for them to meet each other and possibly meet their future love or life partners. A lot of places organise evening riverside events where giggling females write their names and phone numbers on oranges to throw them into the rivers. Young men on boats will net them out for blind dates!

For the oldsters and the kids, it should be an evening of eating, fireworks and fire crackers!

Happy 元宵节 (Yuan Xiao Jie)!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chinese New Year - Tenth Day : 女娲补天 or Nüwa Patched the Sky

The Tenth Day of the Chinese New Year is the day of 女娲补天 or Nüwa Patched the Sky.

Legends has it that on the Tenth Day of the Chinese New Year, a small hole appeared in the sky and the rain fell non-stop. To save the people on Earth from drowning, 女娲 (Nüwa)补天 or patched up the hole in the sky.

On this day, in our family, we all eat 年糕 (niangao) - sticky rice cake made only for Chinese New Year). 

We just slice the 年糕 into thin slices and eat them as they are, fried plain or with egg batter and best of all, fried as a sandwich of yam and 年糕.

Here is a plate of the fried plain (niangao) ...

and another plate fried with yam slices... 

 Yummy :-) 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chinese New Year - Seventh Day - 人 日 or Birthday of Mankind

The Seventh Day of the Chinese New Year is 人 日 or the Birthday of Mankind. Traditional belief is that the Goddess 女娲 (Nüwa) during the first ten days of the New year made the on each succeeding day, the Chicken, Dog, Goat, Pig, Bull, Horse, Human, Grains, Heaven and Earth.

On this day, one of the dishes during lunch must be a single dish of seven types of vegetables ..... for our family, we celebrate with 七 樣 菜 茶 or seven types of vegetables and tea, the tea being our 客 家 擂 茶 (Hakka ground tea).

For lunch today we have  .....

Piping hot  客 家 擂 茶 (Hakka ground tea).

Steamed rice with fried garlic and oil.

Dish of 七 樣 菜 茶 or seven types of vegetables.

A platter of bean curd, dried turnips, Chinese leek and dried prawn.

A plate of 樹 菜 (Sauropus androgynus)。

Of course, last but not least,  the roasted peanuts, whole or ground as required.

A most satisfying and healthy meal to celebrate the Birthday of Mankind.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chinese New Year - Third Night - Wedding of the Mice

The third night of the Chinese New Year is also known as the Night of the Wedding of the Mice. The are lots of Chinese folk and orchestra music that celebrate this specific event and the music are some of the nicest to listen to!

On this night, people go to bed early and all the lights in the house are switched off so as not to disturb the Mice on their weddings. Some people also leave out some new year candies on the floor for the wedding :-)

Actually, after a week of frantic activities, it is nice to go to bed early and have a good rest.  With all the lights out, no visitor are likely to turn up!

Chinese New Year - Third Day - Day of the Poor Ghosts

The third day of the Chinese New Year is also the Day of the Poor Ghosts - poor in this case being lack of money! This is the day,we also clean up the house and then dumped the rubbish.


Well, there was a woman whose second husband was a very rich man. The first husband was a gambler and ne'er do well.

One New Year, on the first day, her ex-husband came begging at her home. She recognized him but he was not aware of his ex-wife. So she asked him to wait and then went into her house to make Chinese dumpling. Into each dumpling, she hid a silver ingot. With some thirty or so of the dumplings, the husband would be able to lead a good life. She passed the dumplings to her ex-husband and reminded him to eat the dumplings while still hot.

He left with the dumplings but instead of eating them decided to sell them to get cash. When one guy bought one dumpling from him for two cents and bit into it, he found the silver ingot. The customer realised that there must be more to it than just plain dumpling and decided to buy the whole lot from the vendor for one silver ingot.

On the third day of the New Year, the woman again saw her ex-husband begging or food at her house. She wondered what happened and asked him into the kitchen. On hearing his story, she was so enraged, she took up the fire poker and hit him on the head, accidentally killed him. To hide the deed, she decided to clean up the house and throw the corpse out with the rubbish.

Hence, that day is now known as the Day of the Poor Ghosts. Not a day for visiting as the visitors are known as Poor Ghosts and, anyway, everyone is supposed to be cleaning up and clearing out the rubbish :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

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