Even though it’s officially the end of the traditional holidays (3 days of celebration and rituals), people still have one week off, in lieu… and for me, such long holidays only have averse effect – I can feel myself becoming much lazier day after day. No drive in doing anything except sleeping and slacking around in front of the tv.
Actually I felt it was the end two days ago, after the ritual supper for the ancestors marking the transition of the old and new year. Afterwards, all that is left is resting, and eating and more sleeping and eating for the next three days, waiting for the day to get back to school and to work.
Somehow, the LNY celebration has kind of lost its feel in recent years – probably another victim to the bad economy and bad system. I realized there were fewer apricot tree dealers in the park and on the street – those who made the pre-celebration a bit more festive. There were fewer people went to purchase new stuffs – like clothing, household goods or even food and confectioneries – as well. As such, not many households would display spring flowers in the house or their porches… Even going to the pagoda – which was liberating for me before – did not make me feel any much more delightful this time, but more of a mindless thing to do… And the worshiping ritual yesterday to send the ancestors back to heaven marked the end of celebration. I fear the feel of the traditional LNY celebration is being lost year by year until whatever we do in preparation for it might become the kind of doing for the sake of having to do it to shake it off the list, but not really truly to observe and appreciate the traditions and its atmosphere…
Another year came, another year passed, and here I am helping my parents prepare for the traditional rites before the Lunar New Year’s eve (or the eve before Tet)
It starts from the 23rd of December on the Lunar calendar. The very first worshiping ritual is to send the Messenger of your House onto Heaven to report whatever you’ve done in the old year to the High Lord of heaven. This messenger is then welcomed back into the house on the eve before Tet to join with the celebration.
However, the very first IMPORTANT worshiping ritual must be performed in the morning or afternoon the latest on the day before New Year’s eve. This is to invite the ancestors back to celebrate the new year together with you, and it would not be complete without the worshiping meal prepared.
The meal may consist of three to five or more dishes. But the more important and indispensable ones are the traditional sticky-rice cake (which symbolizes the land people living in); soup of bitter melon stuffed with ground pork (to wish the bitterness of the old year away); the boiled whole chicken and the braised pork with eggs (those dishes often cooked in the traditional old homes for wish of having sufficient food for the family). So a closer to into the cake…
This is my mom’s product! =) every year she would prepare several of these cakes for our family as well as to our friends and working partners as a token of appreciation for a good year of collaboration (when given like this, the cake often comes in pair!). This cake has its content made from layers of cooked green beans sandwiched a thick layer of fatty meat, which are all wrapped in this “coat” of sticky rice which is soaked in a solution of pandan juice and salt; altogether they would be boiled for almost 12 hours continuously!
After setting up the table with such dishes and bowls of rice (and up to each home they will serve with cold hams or with springrolls), the flower vase decor-ed with marigold will be put up with the incense burner, joss paper, candles and a dish of rice mixed with salt. The head of the family (or the elderly) would be the one who light three incense sticks to carry out the ritual of inviting the ancestors by praying. Once the incense sticks have burned up, the joss paper (contained of various figures) would be burned with the thought of sending goods and properties to our ancestors so as they would have sufficient and even affluent living in the other world; then they would come back to bless the children! The dish of rice and salt would then be tossed around the house to prevent further evil spirits to come and spoil the occasions. After everything is done (meaning the ancestors have finished with the meal), my family will have the food together…
And that would be done for the ritual of the morning… More to come! =)
What a tremendously inspiring match (and tournament) of Stan Wawrinka to watch! The man has always put his best tennis out there in every single match, and to be able to witness his play was such a delight.
Additionally, a great new positive playing mentality of which I must admire! I’ve come to appreciate greatly with the new quotation that was tattooed on his arm – you should never stop trying and the moment will come. And Stan the man has just proven the world just that – beaten world No. 1 and No. 2 in the same tournament, risen past his countryman Federer, taken the maiden Grand Slam trophy! His hard work paid! Some may say this final was easy on for Wawrinka – having Nadal worn in the last three matches against big opponents and injured in the final – but overall, the man does deserve this title: he held his nerve, played consistently, and gave the opponent his best weapon – punishing forehand and backhand winners!
With this victory of Stan Wawrinka, I did learn something for myself as well. Stan taught me a lesson of perseverance, of relentless effort to achieve the final goal or just to be the better of yourself. As he has humbly said during numerous interview sessions in this tournament, he was not (and should not be) much bothered by the records and statistics against his opponents – he focuses instead on his own game, his own match and how to be best in every match…. And so should I, take the mistakes and setbacks as the lessons to learn but never should let them hinder whatever is happening at the present – I should only focus on the “current match” and persist and give it my best shot to prevail! Stan has done that, he worked hard in every match this beginning of the year, not letting anything to chances and with the right circumstances, he has emerged a victor!
I would keep this quote as a reminder for me for the rest of this year to keep on working hard and persevering in every challenge faced and even if I fail, I’ll try to fail better! And who know, the next time I try it, I’ll come out a winner!
So here I am again, watching ‘baby Fed’ striving his way through to the quarter finals of the Australian Open while writing out the first post for this new blog.
I’ve created many – and by that I truly mean MANY – blogs but with no motivation to keep them ‘alive’. Hopefully the fate would not be the same with this site (yes, it’s all up to me!). Still, may be I could still practice writing with every posts, expressing opinions as well as telling and recording the everyday happenings in my life and my emotions, too. The holidays week is coming so perhaps I could have more time spared to take care of this page =)
A statement for self: “I hereby establish the determination to commit to at least one entry per week and to polish my writing content to the best of my ability”