Fostering togetherness in celebration

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019

Hong Kong tourist Charlotte Cheung who is in Malaysia for holiday. /Picby:CHAN BOON KAI/The Star/11 February 2019

GEORGE TOWN: The Chinese New Year holidays may be over but the celebrations are ongoing as many families and friends gather to celebrate the day of Yan Yat (everybody’s birthday in Cantonese).

Hong Kong tourist Charlotte Cheung (pic), 40, said Yan Yat, which falls on the seventh day of Chinese New Year, was a day to gather for a feast.

“We would normally have dinner with family and friends during this joyous occasion.

“As I’m in Penang for a holiday now, I texted my friends back in Hong Kong to wish them well on this day.

“I feel very much at home here as the tradition of getting together is practised by the Chinese community here as well.

“This is seen through my Malaysian friend who has invited me to have dinner with her,” said Cheung, who was spotted watching a lion dance performance at Komtar here.

An octogenarian who only wished to be known as Koay said people would usually toss and eat yee sang on the seventh day of Chinese New Year.

“It is a day to celebrate humanity or everyone’s birthday.

“I believe this day was originally celebrated widely by the Cantonese community,” said the 88-year-old woman.

Penang Kwangtung and Teng­chow Association chairman Datuk Lee Wing Kong said it was a tradition for the Cantonese community to eat fish porridge and noodles on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year.

“In Cantonese, fong yi zuk sek means having ample food and clothing.

“Porridge in Cantonese is zuk and people usually eat fish porridge on this day in the hope of being prosperous and doing well throughout the year.

“Fish means nin nin yao yu, which symbolises having plenty to spare year after year.

“Noodles carry the meaning of longevity,” he said.

Lee added that Yan Yat was a family-oriented celebration.

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