The Singaporean Sisters - Number 1 Luxury Lifestyle Blog in SINGAPORE!: Chinese New Year Celebration - The True Meaning of "YU SHENG" and How to "LO HEI"

Alisha & Lace Singapore

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Chinese New Year Celebration - The True Meaning of "YU SHENG" and How to "LO HEI"

Chinese New Year Celebration - The True Meaning of "YU SHENG" - The most popular dish or favorite among everyone is the "Yu Sheng" where the enthusiastic toss of ingredients to a great height using chopsticks creates much excitement. This dish is associated with the increase in abundance, wealth and prosperity. The higher the toss, the better the luck. The tossing of ingredients is called Lo Hei which means to "rise" (Hei) which makes it of vital importance for businessmen.

鱼生 (yúshēng) is a raw fish salad which consists of shredded vegetables, condiments and a variety of sauces. It is normally served on the 7th day of Chinese New Year also known as 人日(Ren Ri) the birthday for humans. But in today's modern society, this dish is eaten and celebrated among friends and loved ones throughout the entire festive season. 

The dish is absolutely delicious and it remains popular due to the auspicious meanings behind all its ingredients. Most chefs would agree that the best "Yu Sheng" would be one that is made with the freshest ingredients. While there are many variants to this dish, the general rule will be to recite well wishes while tossing the ingredients. 

Below is a short summary from Darren Sim's Blog on how to enjoy a dish of Yu Sheng with the associated meanings and well wishes to recite at the same time. 

12 steps to Lo Hei (Good things to say)

  1. All at the table offers New Year greetings. 
    恭喜发财 (Gong Xi Fa Cai) meaning “Congratulations for your wealth”
    万事如意 (Wan Shi Ru Yi) meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
  2. The raw fish is added, symbolising abundance and excess through the year. 
    年年有余 (Nian Nian You Yu) meaning “Abundance through the year”
  3. The pomelo or lime is added to the fish, adding luck and auspicious value. 
    大吉大利 (Da Ji Da Li) meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”
  4. Pepper is then dashed over the ingredients in the hope of attracting more money and valuables. 
    招財進寶 (Zhao Cai Jin Bao) meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”
  5. Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to follow in from all directions. 
    一本万利 (Yi Ben Wan Li) meaning “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital”
    财源广进 (Cai Yuan Guang Jin) meaning “Numerous sources of wealth”
  6. Carrots are added to the fish indicating blessings of good luck. 
    鸿运当头 (Hong Yun Dang Tou) meaning “Good luck is approaching”.
    Carrot (红萝卜) is used as the first character 鸿 also sound like the Chinese character for red.
  7. Then the shredded green radish is placed on the fish symbolising eternal youth. 
    青春常住 (Qing Chun Chan Zhu) meaning “Forever young”.
    Green radish is used as the first character 青 also sound like the Chinese character for green.
  8. After which the shredded white radish is added – prosperity in business and promotion at work. 
    風生水起 (Feng Sheng Shui Qu) meaning “Progress at a fast pace”
    歩歩高升 (Bu Bu Gao Sheng) meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”
  9. The condiments are finally added. First, peanut crumbs are dusted on the dish symbolising a household filled with gold and sliver. 
    金银满屋 (Jin Yin Man Wu) meaning “Household filled with gold and sliver”
  10. Seasame seeds quickly follow symbolising a flourish business.
    生意兴隆 (Sheng Yi Xing Long) meaning “Prosperity for the business”
  11. Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold.
    满地黄金 (Man Di Huang Jin) meaning “Floor full of gold”
  12. All toss the salad an auspicious 7 times with loud shouts of Lo Hei and other auspicious New Year wishes.

♥ Lora Christelle Lim 

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