Besides shouting ‘HUAT-AH’, tossing food up in the air and snatching the ‘Golden Pillow’ with your siblings, have you ever wondered what is the true rationale of eating Yu Sheng every year?
Rituals and meanings
According to Wiki, it was believed that in south China, a young man and his girlfriend found themselves stranded by bad weather at a temple with nothing to eat but they managed to catch a carp. Chancing upon a bottle of vinegar, they added this to the stripped carp and found it quite appetising.
Moving on, Yusheng implies to “abundance of wealth and long life”. In Cantonese, it is known as lo sheng with lo also meaning “tossing up good fortune”. The tossing action is called lo hei, which means to “rise” (hei), again a reference to a thriving business and thus its popularity with businessmen during the new-year celebrations.
Needless to say, the generation of young people today are starting to neglect the true meaning and have their own “Fun & Crazy” way of 捞鱼生.
How to 捞鱼生 the PROPER way
Step 1: All at the table / Ready to begin
Words to say: Gong xi fa cai恭喜发财 / Wan shi ru yi万事如意
Meaning: Be prosperous & have lots of money / May all your wishes be fulfilled
Step 2: Adding in raw fish
Words to say: Nian nian you yu 年年有余
Meaning: Abundance throughout the year
Step 3: Adding pomelo or lime over the fish
Words to say: Da ji da li 大吉大利
Meaning: Good luck and great prosperity
Step 4: Sprinkling pepper & cinnamon powder
Words to say: Zhao cai jin bao 招财进宝
Meaning: May you attract wealth & treasures
Step 5: Pouring oil / plum sauce over ingredients
Words to say: Yi ben wan li 一本万利 / Cai yuan guang jin 财源广进
Meaning: Enjoy a ten thousand-fold profit from your investment / May you have many sources of wealth
Step 6: Adding shredded carrot to raw fish
Words to say: Hong yun dang tou 鸿运当头
Meaning: Good luck is approaching
Step 7: Adding shredded green radish to the raw fish
Words to say: Qing chun chang zhu 青春常驻
Meaning: May you be forever young
Step 8: Adding shredded white radish to the raw fish
Words to say: Bu bu gao sheng 步步高升
Meaning: May you rise steadily in your career
Step 9: Pouring peanut crumbs & sesame seeds
Words to say: Jin yin man wu 金银满屋 / Sheng yi xing long 生意兴隆
Meaning: Hope that your house will be filled with gold and silver / Wishing you prosperity for the business
Step 10: Throwing in the deep-fried flour crisps
Words to say: Man di huang jin 满地黄金
Meaning: May your whole floor would be filled with gold
Step 11: Everyone to toss the salad an auspicious 7 TIMES
Words to say: Shouts of “Lo Hei” or other auspicious wishes such as HUAT-AH
Meaning: Toss up a good fortune!
The ingredients are mixed by pushing them toward the centre, an encouragement to push on the good luck of all at the table. If you can’t finish the salad, don’t worry, as usually a small amount is left behind to signify abundance.
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