GEORGE TOWN: The Ren Ri celebration on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year this year was a memorable one for property development company managing director Datuk Ooi Ghee Shen and his family.
It was a merry gathering of more than 70 family members at a restaurant here to celebrate what is also known as “everyone’s birthday”.
“This is the first time we are having such a big family gathering since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is also the first time we are celebrating Ren Ri together.
“We usually meet up on the second day of Chinese New Year every year.
“As our family is growing bigger, we decided to meet on a Saturday, which happens to be on Ren Ri,” Ooi said.
He said that four generations of family members gathered at the restaurant, with the youngest member being only one year old and the oldest being 88 years old.
“We started making arrangements two months ago as we had relatives coming back from Australia and China.
“Everyone enjoyed themselves and was busy catching up.
“It is better to eat in a restaurant as the space is big enough to cater for such a large group.
“We booked six tables and had over 70 people here,” he said.
For marketing executive Annabelle Chan and her family, the seventh day of Chinese New Year is as important as the first day of the festival.
Coming from a Cantonese-speaking family, the 28-year-old said her grandparents always made it a point to celebrate “everyone’s birthday” together.
“My grandparents are from Guangzhou, China, and it is an occasion that they insist we continue to celebrate.
“On Ren Ri, we will usually have a ‘lou sang’ session and eat noodles for longevity.
“After a two-year hiatus, I am happy to finally be home from Australia and celebrate this memorable occasion with my relatives, some of who came from as far as Singapore.
“As the celebration is dubbed ‘everyone’s birthday’, I decided to celebrate it with new clothes,” she quipped.
According to Chinese myth, humans were created by the goddess Nuwa on the seventh day, when she began shaping yellow clay into her likeness.
Ren Ri is mainly observed by the Kwang Tung community in Malaysia and in Cantonese, the day is called “Yan Yat” or “people’s day”.
The Cantonese in Malaysia usually eat fresh fish porridge and noodles on this day and they usually pair fresh fish slices with seven types of vegetables and call it lou sang, which has an auspicious meaning.