People of Chinese descent the world over made an exodus to their ancestral homes to reunite with family members for a feast on the eve of Chinese New Year. In modern times, people are not as superstitious and are not observing culture and traditions to a T. Still, most would take the trouble to travel home to show filial piety to the elders, especially on the occasion of Chinese New Year.
Family members of Dato’ Ooi Foh Sing, President of the Ipoh Chinese Chinwoo Athletic Association, returned to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Singapore and even Australia and New Zealand, for dinner at New She Lai Ton Restaurant. Many have not met up with one another since last year’s Chinese New Year reunion dinner, which is not uncommon in most families because of tight work schedule. All in all, about 40 members of Dato’ Ooi’s family joined in the celebration.
Usually, after the tossing of “yu sang”, the patriarch of the family would begin eating. The 8-course dinner would include dishes with prosperous sounding names, from chicken to pork, fish and prawns. This is to signify an abundance for the coming year.
Traditionally, female members of a family would cook the entire day for the reunion dinner, but these days, families opt to eat out at restaurants for convenience. As you can see, it was full house at the New She Lai Ton Restaurant, and this restaurant was just one of the many Chinese restaurants doing brisk business that evening.
Once dinner is done, the elders would distribute “ang pows” (li xi) to the younger family members. This is to wish them well for the coming year. Gong xi, gong xi!
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