You might think that I’m a piece of 叉烧 char siew, leaving my mom alone to cook while I went to the malls for some shopping and then provide silent moral support in front of the TV. I need to defend myself a bit here, so I am going to share with you two other activities we did in preparation for CNY, two activities that I have active involvement in.
化纸宝 Converting Paper Treasure
We did this in the morning of CNY Eve. It is basically preparing a bunch of paper based treasures and converting them to a form that our deceased ancestors will be able to receive and use them. Yeah, where science have failed, us Chinese have methods to get in touch with the deceased and take care of them.
So how does this conversion works?
Then we will place those paper treasures inside the bin and burn them. The flames will engulf the papers, turning them into smoke that will rise up to the heaven and reach our ancestors. Before setting the fire ablaze, one needs to pray to the ancestors at praying altar first. And while burning, one needs to think of the ancestors. This will ensure the smoke will find it’s way to the right recipients.
There’s actually quite a bit more that I did not manage to capture in photo. I told you I have direct involvement, didn’t I? I was the one who woke up early, so I get to help mom out with this. She arranged the papers into correct shapes and layers, I carried the papers to the bin and lighted them up.
Last Minute CNY Grocery Shopping
Every year, mom will start buying and preparing things for CNY as early as a month earlier. But some things need to be bought as fresh as possible as they can’t store for long, especially vegetables supply over the first few days of the new year as the wet market would be closed. So every day before CNY Eve, and CNY Eve itself, mom would still head to the pasar (wet market) for some last minute grocery shopping. Since I am around, the task of chauffeur and personal walking trolley cart falls to me.
These photos are all taken with my phone. I did not carry my camera with me, as it would be too much of a trouble, especially when I expect both my hands to be carrying loads of things.
So what do people typically buy on the last minute dash for CNY?
Seriously, fresh grocery is always overpriced as it gets close to CNY. You can expect to pay at least 30% more for vegetables, and sometimes 2 times more for meat and seafood. Prices increase corresponding to how desperate people are to buy them.
This is the last photo I was able to capture…
After this, both my hands were carrying bags and I have no hands to handle the phone anymore..