Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Breakfast today was quite different from yesterday. We went to the coffee shop Coffee Bean and I ordered the “Break O’Day” breakfast. Chicken sausage, scrambled eggs, toast and a salad. The salad consisted of lettuce, tomato, cranberries and almond flakes. Weirdest salad ever.

Then we headed to Chinatown to see the Chinese New Year market and so I could practice using my DSLR. I’m so glad that we went early and managed to beat the crowd. However I did see a line that was about 40m long for a famous bah kwa shop (flat square pieces of bbq pork mince). And absolutely no customers at two other bah kwa stores right next door. And also a crazy line at the bank supposedly because people are trying to change money for nice crisp notes for red packets (if you want to give money to me, please note I do not discriminate and will accept both crumpled old notes and new ones).

There is a wishing tree in Chinatown where you can throw your wish into the tree. You write it on a piece of paper which is attached to an orange by a string and you get three tries to get it into the tree.

I saw the biggest nian gao in Singapore (one of 12 in the whole country), I thnk about 45cm in diameter, as we walked through the Chinatown wet market. There were so many people buying tangerines, pineapples (love the bunches of mini ones for the altar), decorations, fa gao (a steamed cake for altars, will explain more later), pumpkins, pomelos, candy and decorations. Not to mention FOOD!

 

My aunt explained to me that for the altar in their home, they put a fa gao and nian gao which will remain at the altar until the end of the 15 days of Chinese New Year. And the aim is for it to be as mouldy as possible, as the more mould the better for prosperity (and of course, no cheating, mould must develop naturally).  She has also bought special joss sticks for the altar for Chinese New Year which have gold glitter on them and as they burn down the flame flickers/blinks.

My aunty Veron has been preparing food for our reunion dinner on Chinese New Year eve for weeks. Tomorrow I will be baking cupcakes to give to my relatives for Chinese New Year and on Sunday I’ll be helping my aunt with some of the cooking. This will be my first Chinese New Year in Singapore with my family and I think I need to prepare my stomach for an incredible feast. Today’s training included lunch at my favourite soya chicken shop in Chinatown, Chiew Kee Noodle House and then twister fries (curly fries/prosperity fries) from McDonalds.

Later in the evening I went with my aunt and uncle to a nearby temple of the God of Wealth to see how they were preparing for Chinese New Year. It’s a busy time of year for the temple and there are many things you wouldn’t see at any other time of year.

Huge joss sticks that people have "sponsored" and donated money for.

New uniforms for the imperial guards, these items will be burnt to send them to heaven.

 

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