Chinese New Year Celebrations at Zhenghua
It was a quiet trip on the MRT this morning in anticipation of Chinese New Year. Tonight, it officially begins, but there are events planned over the next 2 weeks. Most places (including all schools) are closed Tuesday and Wednesday. It is tradition to spend time with family, eat, and visit others. Students and teachers came to school this morning to begin the celebration with a series of performances and the preparation of the “prosperity salad.”
The entire school gathered around the courtyard with each class sitting in their assigned area. Two students acted as master of ceremonies and introduced the performers. First up were the colorful dragon dancers.
After they finished, it was time for the student drumming group to perform. I saw them practicing last week and it was wonderful seeing them live in front of everyone. A teacher group performed after them, doing a song and dance show that I filmed, but YouTube denied it for copyright infringement due to the song playing in the background.
The morning ended with the preparation and eating of the prosperity salad, also known as Yee Sang. Making it is a wonderful tradition that I got to participate in. Everyone adds the ingredients, one at a time, in a specific order. The salad is then tossed with chopsticks high into the air. The higher you toss it, the more prosperous you will be.
It was explained to me by the principal that Chinese New Year is celebrated differently in the People’s Republic of China. Due to the Cultural Revolution many of the oldest (and mystical) activities and celebrations were banned. In Singapore they celebrate in the traditional way.
To make the salad, you add the following ingredients in this order:
Everyone gathers around the table so that all your wishes will be fulfilled.
Add in raw fish (we used canned abalone) to secure a year of abundance.
Add pomelo, or lime for good luck.
Sprinkle in pepper and cinnamon powder to attract wealth and treasures.
Pour oil or plum sauce in to profit from your investments.
Add shredded carrot for good luck coming your way.
Add shredded green radish so you may be forever young.
Add shredded white radish so that you may rise steadily in your career.
Next, add peanut crumbs and sesame seeds so that your house will be filled with gold and silver.
The last ingredient is deep-fried flour crisps so that your floor will be covered in gold.
With all these ingredients added, it’s time to mix them together into one giant salad. The staff had three large platters and each student group had their own. It created quite a mess, but also a delicious salad that we all gobbled up.