Some of you expect me to blog about 大年初一 CNY Day One, but the fact is, Day One has always been rather uneventful as far as my family is concerned.
You see, for some families, 初一 first day and 十五 fifteenth day of each month are days where we should go vegetarian. The same goes for my family. Of course, I only observe this when I am at home in KL. I hardly bother when I am out of mom’s reach in Penang. And that also applies for 大年初一 First day of the year. After all those meat for the 团圆饭 reunion dinner on CNY Eve, we go vegetarian on 大年初一.
According to Chinese customs, 大年初一 is also the day where people go and 拜年, paying New Year visit to the most elderly person in the family. For years, that person is my grandma who lives with us, so it means relatives come to our house. However, after my grandma passed away, the relatives have not been visiting. And since we did not have a habit of visiting others, we kept up with that habit. We just stayed home all day.
Long story short: my 大年初一 was spent eating vegetarian food, and then stuffing my face with snacks and soft drinks while watching TV from morning to night. Hardly blog worthy stuff if you ask me.
年初二 Day Two though, is a different story. 年初二 is what we call 开年, the official Opening of the year. I don’t think everyone observes this, probably just the Cantonese families. Don’t ask me why we do it this way, I have no idea, my mom has no idea too. 年初二 is 开年, it just is. If you insist that I guess, then I’m guessing that maybe because it is more auspicious to officially start the year with a bang, with meats and seafood, but Day One is the day that we go vegetarian so we delay a day just so that we can officially start the year auspiciously.
So what do we do on 年初二? We start the year with a bang, literally. Sometimes, we would engage lion dance troupes to come to our house and perform a routine. Sometimes it would be one of the neighbors. We did the lion dance thing two years ago.
This year, we did not get any lion dance troupe in. We went with a relatively quieter route. This route.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piW4jAEIrCo]
Actually, I might get my family into trouble for posting this video online..
For 开年, we would also have a lavish meal, typically for lunch. After the boring vegetarian fares on Day One, the 开年饭 Opening Meal has to be lavish, with meat and everything, just so to set an auspicious tone for the entire year.
So that’s how my start to the CNY is. Busy and delicious CNY Eve, boring CNY Day One, and then loud and lavish CNY Day Two..
RG’s Pronunciation Corner:
(Chinese word – Mandarin pronunciation – Cantonese pronunciation)
- 大年初一 – Da Nian Chu Yi – Dai Nin Chor Yat
- 年初二 – Nian Chu Er – Nin Chor Yi
- 开年 – Kai Nian – Hoi Nin
- 开年饭 – Kai Nian Fan – Hoi Nin Fan
- 团圆饭 – Tuan Yuan Fan – Tuen Yuen Fan
- 拜年 – Bai Nian – Bai Nin