Monday, February 4, 2008

Reunion Dinner on February 6

In two evenings time, most Chinese will be gathered for the annual reunion dinner. The meal is more than a sentimental gesture. Its symbolism and significance can never be underscored. Parents, as hosts, beam upon the success of their children and bask in the sound and laughter of the grandchildren.

Like all parents, they wish their children to prosper. Therefore, every dish on the table reflects the idea of a smooth and successful new year.

You need to understand the use of homonyms to appreciate the dishes on the table.
The pineapple is a must because the Cantonese word for it sounds like "wong lai" which means luck is on the way. Oyster is another compulsory ingredient. Oyster is hosi in Cantonese which means a good thing.

Prawns sounds like the sound of laughter : si si ha ha whilst the nian gao or sweet cake sounds like a better year. The fact that the shape is round gives the idea of unity, that it is sweet implies the new year would be without sorrow and that it is sticky implies unity.

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