We had a great invitation to join our friend (and real estate agent) Margaret and her family for a Chinese New Year dinner this past Saturday evening. We were thrilled to be invited and struggled for days before hand on what would be the proper things to bring our hostess. Throughout the CNY, there are many rituals and things that represent good luck and fortune that are very important to the whole season. We finally decided that the mandarin oranges would be perfect and we brought lots of other smaller hostess gifts. In return, Ben and Nicky received Hung Bao (red packets) with money in it from every adult at the party! It is a tradition to give the children these red packets during the Chinese New Year. Wow – they got rich!
Another tradition we were lucky enough to participate in at Margaret’s house was sharing a Yu Sheng (Prosperity Salad). This salad is served in the center of a table and all the participants take their chop sticks to toss the many, many ingredients of the salad together while reciting good wishes and prayers for the up coming year. Margaret said, “The messier – the better!” So, you are supposed to toss the salad high and with enthusiasm. We all participated!
The next night, we had a big Chinese New Year block party on our street. As we did last year, we hired a lion dance to come to the street for all the kids to enjoy. This year’s dance included two lions!