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The Grand Reunion Dinner of the year.

It is hard to describe what goes on in the mind of one who attaches the significance of observing and celebrating the most important festival of the chinese calendar - The Lunar New Year.

As important as the day itself, the day before that marks the end of the last lunar month of the year holds a rich culture and is so steep in tradition that it does not escape anyone who understands chinese traditions. Today, it is celebrated all around the world and is as diverse as any other festivals, touching upon the lives of many other races and backgrounds.

The day before the start of the Lunar New Year falls on the 21st of January 2023.

It is known as the Day of Reunion and will be celebrated with a family feast called the Reunion Dinner.

Days before, family members who are abroad or live a distance would prepare the annual migration called the Homecoming. This will culminate with the gathering of as many family members as it is possible, some of different generations. It bears witness to the family as one seeing to the end of the old year and welcoming the new year together.

The Chinese poet, Su Dong-po, during the Sung dynasty once wrote 'Seeing an old friend depart is emotional and I will likely miss him temporarily. We can always meet again. But no one can capture the moment of a passing time'. Just like the year that will pass.

As the most important meal of the year, families will spare no effort in ensuring the best that they can afford as the abundance of food on the table is meant to symbolize that the family will not go hungry all year round.

The food on the dining table for the meal bears their respective importance and some of them are quintessential.

Fish, and it most be the whole fish, complete with its head to tail, puns as surplus and an increase in prosperity.

Dumplings, shaped as ingots representing money, are supposed to bring in wealth and fortune.

Chicken, cooked in any style, must come complete with its head intact and tail to symbolize good luck and wholeness, in hope of things and endeavours that will be complete and full.

Spring rolls, sounds like the festivities and auspiciousness of Spring, will forever be with you bringing you much harmony and balance.

Longevity noodles are consumed so that all will achieve happiness and longevity.

Prawns, in various dialects of the Chinese language, sounds like the equivalent of laughter and happiness.

Vegatables, such as the fresh lettuce, signifies life, new hopes and energy, vital for everyone to start the new year with vigour and promises.

It is also customary to end the meal with the New Year cake and glutinous rice balls to round up the dinner for unity and a sweet beginning.

Beyond the food, the Reunion Dinner also brings about the meaning of the young showing their repects to the elderly. The Kitchen God, after making his rounds in Heaven and making his reports to the Jade Emperor, returns to join in the celebrations on this day. It is also a time to include the less fortunate and it is not uncommon for some to invite those without families to join them in this celebration. Such is the spirit to the Eve of the Lunar New Year.

Mistakes are forgiven, dreams are laid out, happiness are shared and on a night when traditionally, the beast of the old year is chased away, everyone will make merry, stay past midnight to welcome the God of Wealth together, make offerings and prayers to the heavens, sleep well and wake up to a brand new year, a time to experience bliss and joy.

Read more about the expert opinion from Maybank Securities' research team on various countries' prospects, different industries' fortunes and why the Period 9 holds well for properties.

2023 Feng Shui Report - Maybank
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Au Revoir to the Kitchen God - The tradition that almost got away.

On the 24th day of the last lunar calendar, the Kitchen God(灶神)makes his report of every household to the Jade Emperor on each merits and misdeeds that have been accumulated in the past year. This is the audit of your past twelve months of actions and demaenour, whether they have brought joy or misery to those you come into contact with. This report card of yours will come when the Kitchen God does his rounds and return to your respective homes on the eve of the Lunar New Year (21st January 2023).

According to legend, the Jade Emperor will then decide any rewards or punishments to each home and its occupants for the rest of the coming new year.

Leading up the the Lunar New Year, many of us will be busy spring cleaning to prepare for one of the most important day in the Chinese Calendar, the Lunar New Year which falls on 22nd January 2023.

In Asian tradition, the kitchen also symbolizes the general health and harmony your home. The premise is, good health and good food bind us as one happy family.

So, mark your calendar. To send off the Kitchen God, your home and especially the cooking area, must be clean and tidy on the day before. This day is the Saturday on 14th January 2023.

Besides cleaning up the kitchen and most parts of the home, prepare a fruit platter of fruits (local to your place of stay for readers overseas) , a bouquet of fresh flowers and the quintessential is the New Year Cake called 'Nian Gao' (年糕). This delicacy is prepared from glutinous rice flour and brown sugar. For our overseas readers, a similar repalcement would be some sweet savoury or cakes. It is then consumed by frying the New Year Cake into slices with a batter of eggs and flour. I beleive recipes can be found easily online.

Offered to the Kitchen God as a sendoff, it is belived that it will hopefully sweeten the mood of the Kitchen God when he does his reporting. You may take it as a small token of a bribe.

For some, it can be an elaborate affair with prayers and offerings of incense but for those who take this as a traditional and cultural practice, this would suffice.

I hope that this annual observance will not be forgotten through the generations but preserved as a link to our origins, as ethnic Chinese, all around the world.

The Kitchen God is a personification of a presence an energy or a force and I emphasize that this is not religious and can apply to everyone among us, as a mark of new hopes and great future for ourselves and for those we love.

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