Gong Hei Fat Choi!

Happy Chinese New Year

As you know, today is Chinese New Year.  This year is the year of the dragon!  This time of the year is my favourite.  There’s lots of events happening, gather with your family and friends, food and money 😀

Every new year eve my family have a gathering.  It’s kinda like Christmas for us but instead of presents, we get money in red envelopes.

So first of all, my family usually goes to the father’s side for dinner.  On the day I also tried to practise some manual settings and composition with my camera.. I tried.. 🙂

Dad's side cny food

Grandma's cooking - Dad's side. We got prawns, scallop stir-fry, abalones, sweet and sour pork, roast pork and roast duck!

I was actually quite shocked when my fiance told me he couldn’t eat half of them.. -_-” I didn’t tell grandma that.. he stuck with the stir-fry and rice.

And then when we went to my other grandma’s house he ate like 5 plates of noodles my uncle cooked!  He’s so weird..

Grandma's house - Mum's side

A lot of the food are cooked by my uncles and aunties. Very restaurant quality because they are chefs for many chinese restaurants in Melbourne.

My mother’s side is much bigger compared to my father’s side.  We were all crowding and producing so much heat at my grandma’s house!  It was very stuffy indeed but we all had a good time and in the end everyone left with a full belly and bags full of red envelopes!

How the red envelopes work:

I’ve always wondered how my eldest feel about giving a lot of money away on Chinese New Year.. here’s what I’ve been told how it works.

  • First of all, if you are married – too bad.  You don’t get any.  You have to give ‘hung bao’ (red envelope in Cantonese) to singles and children younger than you.  Doesn’t matter how much you give.  That’s up to you.  However, you give your parents and parent-in-law a bit more money.. say a couple of hundreds.
  • Usually, you want get ‘hung bao’ from the people if you don’t wish them a happy new year.  All you need to do is open your mouth and say it 🙂  It is mainly given to family and friends (not really strangers unless they are connected with you in some way).

There are debates about whether single full-time workers who are over a certain age should be given ‘hung bao’.  Some choose to not accept ‘hung bao’ and instead do the good deed.  I believe it’s really up to them, but personally, I would give ‘hung bao’ if I was in that position.  I feel it’d be rude to accept ‘hung bao’ if I was say 30, had money and a full-time job.  It’s time I’d give back.

Unfortunately for me, this is probably my last year I will be receive if I marry before next new year.   Warned Eric, he joked that we should flee the country around that time of the year haha.

Afterwards, my dad took us to Footscray Heavenly Temple that recently open it’s door to public a few months ago.  My mother said that they’ve been raising money for 30 years to build it.  Still raising money!  They have a fair bit of work to do but so far it is probably one of the best looking temples I’ve seen so far.  I’m not Buddhist but from time to time, my family visits the temple to bring good luck (especially if it’s not a good year for your zodiac!).  Apparently, this year Dragons (and 3 other animals I’ve forgotten) does not have much luck this year.

The front gates of Footscray heavenly temple

The front gates of Footscray heavenly temple

Front of temple with it's nice blue lights around the roof of the building.

Inside of temple

Food offerings to the Gods. Inside of the temple it's spacious but not as big. The food is all vegetarian.

People writing.

Here, people who have bad luck this year write their name, d.o.b and address on a piece of paper. They then fold it and put money in it and place it on the shelf labeled with their year of birth. This is to help bring good luck to them for the year.

Chinese Lanterns

Beautiful chinese lanterns hanging out side.

Burning incense

My dad burning incense.

Placing the incense

We then take three each, pray and then place it into one of the designated areas. (That's my sister in the picture.)

Posing with the lion statue at the temple

Eric and I posing with the lion statue.

Golden guanyin pusa

The big golden Guanyin goddess/god statue is surrounded by a moat over seeing the city.

water feature

Surprising water feature at the temple!

It was a good day and at the end before bed.. it’s always good to see how much money I got at the end of the day 🙂

red envelopes

My collection. I got a big family... (oh it's combined with Eric's)