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Thursday, March 01, 2007

2nd Day of CNY

The start of the New Year typically begins on the 2nd day of the Chinese New Year.
Now, that statement sounded a little awkward huh? We have the first day and we say that New Year only begins on the 2nd?
Haha....if you are getting confused; well, explanation offered was that on the first day, we are usually bounded by the taboos and superstitions; do's and don'ts here and there.
1. No sweeping the floor - sweeping away all the luck and wealth
2. No un-auspicious words to be used - "die" or even saying No.4 in Chinese is forbidden; and any other form of words bringing negative meanings.
3. No sharp objects allowed - yeah, no knives, scissors, etc.....that's why they typically don't cook on the 1st day, they consume those leftover food from the reunion dinner. In Penang, they made it into Chai Boey (mixture of all the vegetables in a sweet and sour soup type). However, these days, most people are vegetarians on the first day anyway:D
There are lots more of these rules; and thus it was really a solemn and strict day of observation on the first day.
The 2nd day though, most of the things resumed to normal and you can finally breathe a sigh of relief (from being scolded if you accidentally do something against the taboo:p )
Hahaha....actually, the 2nd day relaxes more on the taboos (not to say there are no more); but you are finally allowed to sweep the floor, clean the house and also get down to work with your knives...haha, cooking finally and fresh food for the family (instead of leftovers:p)
Also, the 2nd day is marked as the day where married daughters return to their families with their husbands and children and typically, also a day of reunion with their own families. As such, the 2nd day is always a merrier celebration; even more so for my granny since she has so many daughters :D
That is why the 2nd day is the actual welcoming and start of the new year and Cantonese typically call it as "Hoi Nin" (Start/Opening of the year).
As usual, being the devoted follower of her religion, granny typically bustles about on the 2nd day; getting her prayer stuffs ready for the worship of the deities.
She lighted all the joss sticks and candles (usually the house will be filled with smoke from the joss sticks which I am slightly sensitive to)
Then she will burn the papers outside the house to the deities above.

Kitchen God

And this is the plate for the worshipping of the deities.