Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chinese New Year Pt. Two - Let's Toss a Little Luck

Hey all,

Today's blog is about something really fun. It's called the Lo Hei-- or Tossing of the Luck. I had no idea what this was when I came here. I'd never heard of it. Then Jonathon and his work buddies were treated to a session of Lo Hei at work and he came home raving about it.

When I found out they were going to be doing a session here at the hotel for residents I jumped on it, excited to see what it was all about.

Well, let me tell you, we don't have anything like this at home. Here is a little background on Lo Hei...

Yu Sheng is a popular raw fish salad traditionally served on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year season, which the Chinese celebrate as everyone's birthday. It's a tradition for families to toss the salad while calling out Lo Hei!, which means to whip up or toss up good fortune. It's believed that the higher you toss the salad, the greater your luck and prosperity in the New Year! Learn more by going to http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_177__2009-01-08.html

So, does that make sense? Basically, you make the salad, then toss it up in the air with chopsticks. The higher you toss it, the better your luck for the year.

The pic above is what it looks like before you begin the toss. The salad (noodles) in the big pan and then the condiments--peanuts, sesame seeds, sauces and other goodies, and finally raw fish--we had salmon. Each ingredient has it's own meaning and is important to the whole.

The idea is to do this with friends and family. Since the residents of the hotel all get to know each other pretty well, they became the friends for this toss of the luck. After we'd been treated to a wonderful lion dance and blessing by the God of Fortune, we gathered around the table for a session of Lo Hei.
First, you add, one by one the condiments while the announcer blesses each one and explains the reasons they are there.

Sesame seeds- symbolizing a flourishing business for you.
Peanut crumbs- symbolizing gold, silver in the household as well as eternal youth.
Flour crisps- set out to give good wishes of gold for the entire world.
And don't forget the fish--salmon--which is the symbol for abundance for the whole year. Oh, and it's raw, by the way. *smile*

So, now we are ready to go. We have all the condiments on the salad which is made of shredded white and green radish--meaning prosperity at work and eternal youth respectively. Also, shredded carrot is added to give us blessings of good luck. There are spices and oil to put on at the last minute symbolizing luck, hope and encouraging money to flow into the household.

And now we toss. Remember, the higher the toss, the better the luck. We did pretty good. No one really wanted to toss it into the ceiling fans, but we got pretty close. And all the while we were shouting Lo Hie! Lo Hei!

It was a blast and since most of us there were foreigners, we were able to really get into it. Kids, adults and seniors all grabbed the chopsticks and tossed away!

Food went everywhere. I was wearing it on my arm and once, I'm pretty sure, the kid next to me tossed something on my head. But it was so much fun. We laughed and although most of us had never done this type of thing before, we did a pretty good job of tossing the luck.

Afterwards, we pushed it towards the center of the table, the last thing to do to encourage good luck around the table for everyone.

I wasn't sure what to do next, but the announcer grabbed a plate and started dishing up the food.
So, even though I'd seen where some of that food had landed, I thought, "what the hell" and dug right in.

I was surprised. It was actually really good. A delicious salad and one I could easily eat again. Luck or no luck tossed in.

Jonathon grabbed some of my luck as well and we chomped away, enjoying this new Asian treat. Afterwards, we chowed down on an entire Asian buffet trying out all kinds of new foods from sushi to noodle dishes to the obligatory rice.

They even had a dessert. Cream puffs that were to die for. Jonathon didn't like them, so that just left more for me. LOL So, what could I do. After all, I wanted to taste all the new cuisine didn't I?

So there you have it. The tossing of the Luck, or Lo Hei. It was one of the best times I've had here and I'm glad I could share a part of it with you all. I'll leave you with the aftermath of the tossing, knowing for once I'm not the one who'll have to do the cleaning up!!! LOL

CJ England

http://www.cjengland.com/home/Do%20Me%20A%20Favor100x154.jpg
Follow Your Dreams

4 comments:

sjrlive said...

Hey CJ. Yum~Yum!
Sounds/Looks like you had a real community fun dining experience with “lucky raw fish salad”. Here’s a link that gives some history [invented in the 60’s] and a personal account of another Singapore resident: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/
7214781/Fishing-for-luck-in-Singapore-at-New-Year.html
Rock On!
Sara J. ~ : - ]
sjr1groups@yahoo.com

Phylis said...

LOL! I bet you had noodle on your head, or....gross, salmon! I hope your luck follows you wherever you go!

CJ England said...

Sara J.

That is cool! Thanks! It was an experience. I will definitely be using it in a book someday.

CJ

CJ England said...

Phylis,

Actually, I did have some stuff in there. LOL Jonathon picked it out for me. (We didn't eat THAT part!) LOL

CJ