Today (Sunday) is the last day of the Year of the Goat. From Monday 8th Feb 2016 to 27th Jan 2017, it will be the Year of the Monkey. Anyone born in the Year of the Monkey?
In Singapore, Chinese New Year is a two-day public holiday from 8th to 9th Feb. The celebration really starts today on the eve when we have our reunion dinner. (Yes, there's going to be mahjong too.) This reunion dinner is pretty big deal. If you have family, you're bound to be obligated to attend it. My family has our reunion dinner at my MIL's. The first two years I was married, I would make it a point to have reunion lunch with my mother followed by reunion dinner at my MIL's. Then I had kids and my mother sold her flat... Hubs and I, we're not traditional. If it were up to us, we would have no idea what to prepare for a reunion dinner. I would probably cook something we usually eat instead of the auspicious food.
This year I almost forgot to buy Mandarin oranges. We need these when we go visiting during Chinese New Year. The supermarket was super crowded yesterday and while I was queueing up, I realised I had forgotten to get 4 mandarin oranges. I didn't want to give up my place in the queue so I decided I would forget about mandarin oranges this year. Certainly the elders would have something to say when we show up visiting empty handed but the queue was INSANE. Later in the day, I became aware I needed seamless panty which I did not own but needed desperately for Monday. (it's too long a story to tell) The lack of seamless panty gnawed at me and eventually I braved the crowd again. This time I travelled to a larger shopping mall and I struck gold the first place I went to. 3 seamless panties for $18! Having settled my most pressing problem, I turned my attention back to mandarin oranges. I peeked into the supermarket to see how crowded it was. It wasn't too bad. Mandarin oranges were going for a song. 8 for $2.99!
Another task I have is to get the ang pows (red packet) ready. When we go visiting, we have to give unmarried kids or grown ups ang pows. Our kids receive ang pows in return. Hub's job is to get the new notes. Usually hubs has to go queue up at the bank to get new notes. It's a real hassle. This year, the community club near our home has special cash machines dispensing new notes. One day last week, hubs came back from his run and handed me a bunch of new $2 notes. He had specifically worked in the community club into his running route. I put the new notes in my cabinet. Last night, I took them out to stuff them into the ang pows. Guess what? The new notes still have hub's sweat and grime from his run. I tried wiping away the sweat but there was a lot. A lot! Some of the notes were stuck together! Finally I gave up. My son helped me stuff the cash in the envelopes. I hope the recipients of the ang pows won't notice the stickiness and beads of sweat.
What I am most apprehensive about is food. As I will be eating at other people's homes, eating food I usually don't eat, I may end up getting sick. I hope my stomach will be obedient and not explode. I will stay positive and not stress over it. Honestly, if I could go through Chinese New Year without a single headache, I will consider it a success.
Happy Chinese New Year everyone! I wish you a prosperous Year of the Monkey.