Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Reunion Dinner

The Reunion Dinner takes place on the eve of the Lunar New Year. Family members who work away from home would not miss this meal because of its deep significance. It is a time to express filial piety to ancestors as well as to elders. The successful children, now adults express their respect and love for their parents with tokens of gifts either as red packets which contain money or festive food items such as shark's fin, bird's nest or ginseng. Parents do no demand for anything except their presence.

At this meal, each dish on the table has a symbolic meaning. Everything "round" symbolizes unity. Thus meat and fish balls would be part of the menu. The family gathering itself reflects a united gathering. Fish and chicken symbolizes prosperity. Black moss represents longevity. The nian gao or sweet cake as well as the mandarin oranges has the shape of "nuggets", which implies prosperity.

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