Tag Archives: lunar new year

What is it after Chinese New Year?

Cap-Go-Meh-Bogor-PosKota

What is it after Chinese New Year?

Did the fun of Chinese New year celebration stop after that?

Well, guess what…….

Precisely 15 days after the Chinese New Year celebration, there is Cap Go Meh.

What is Cap Go Meh?

Cap Goh Meh is a festival celebrated in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar.

In Hokkien dialect Cap Go Meh means the fifteenth evening (cap= ten, go =five, meh=evening). It is also known as the Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival) in China; Yuen Siu Festival in Hong Kong, Tết Thượng Nguyên or Tết Nguyên Tiêu in Vietnam; and Koshōgatsu in Japan. It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

This year, as Chinese New Year fell on 19th February 2015, the Cap Go Meh Celebration took place on 5th March 2015.

It is interesting to see how the celebration has evolved through the years and how it is celebrated throughout Indonesia today. It has become a major festival attracting many local tourists to the various cities.

Several Cap Go Meh fairs and parades (including dragon & lion dances) took place throughout the archipelago, sometimes with an interesting local touch.

In Singkawang, Kalimantan, people are attracted by Tatung performers – people believed to be possessed by the spirits of ancestors – the performance has similarities with Dayak rituals and is also performed by local Dayaks.

This year the celebration of Cap Go Meh festival in my country become very special as our President Jokowi attended this celebration in his favorite satellite city Bogor. This visit to Bogor Street Festival Cap Go Meh 2015 was to encourage other cities to do the same to attract more tourist and also for supporting pluralism.

 

Jokowi di Bogor Street Festival Cap Go Meh

In my country, Cap Go Meh is also associated with a very well-known dish for this festival named “Lontong Cap Go Meh”

What is Lontong Cap Go Meh?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Celebrate the Year of Goat with Homely Chinese Food

barongsai

The Lunar New Year is fast approaching and countries throughout Asia are gearing up to celebrate.

In my country, Chinese New Year is declared as a national holiday. This year it falls on 19 February and is called as the year of goat.  The goat is the lucky eighth sign of the zodiac. It’s meant 
to be a year of harmony, home comfort and abundance!

While New Year’s customs vary throughout Chinese Indonesian communities in the Indonesian archipelago, the spirit underlying the celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year  is the same; a sincere wish for peace, happiness and prosperity for family members and friends.

As Indonesia counts a large population of those with Chinese descent, most of whom have lived here for generations, Chinese New Year, also is known as Imlek is celebrated with lots of fanfare in many townships across the archipelago.

On New Year’s eve, Chinese families whose members may be living far apart, make it point to gather at New Year’s eve family dinner. The next morning they will all go to the temple to pray.

Imlek 2015 Kompas-comPicture from Kompas.com dated 18 – 2 – 2015

Although our family don’t celebrate Chinese New year but since it’s going to be a holiday, I am planning to mark the occasion by cooking one of our favorite homely Chinese Foods called Mun Tofu or also known in my country as Mun Tahu.

Why Mun Tofu? 

It’s just the right dish for a humble welcome to the Year of the Goat, with easy-to-find ingredients and a dish that is effortlessly achievable.

Here’s the recipe of my version of Mun Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 300 gr silk tofu, diced
  • 200 gr minced beef
  • 100 gr button mushroom, sliced
  • 2 stalk of green onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Cooking oil
  • 100 ml water

Spices:

  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 100ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional when desired)

Directions:

  • Heat the wok until smoke out. Add cooking oil.
  • Add minced garlic, sauté until fragrant and golden brown.
  • Add minced beef. Stir fry until the color changed.
  • Add the button mushroom
  • Season with all the spices except cornstarch and sesame oil.
  • Cook until 3/4 cooked.
  • Add tofu and green onion.
  • Stir carefully until the spices well blended.
  • Pour into water, cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add cornstarch mixture, mix well until boiling and thickened.
  • Add sesame oil, mix to blend.
  • Remove from the heat.

Serve warm with rice.

Mun Tahu sapi gilingGONG XI FA CAI

Cat or Rabbit?

In a few days, we are going to celebrate Lunar New year. This year, the Lunar New Year falls on 3rd February 2011 which is relatively early.

Lunar New Year has many names, the most popular is Chinese New Year.  However, it’s celebrated in many other Asian countries including Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam (called Tết),  Indonesia (called  Sin Cia or Imlek) and to a lesser extent Korea, Japan.  According to the Chinese astrology calendar, 2011 is a Chinese Rabbit Year.

The Chinese calendar combines lunar, solar and Stem-Branch cycle systems. Stem cycle is the Yin Yang Five Elements. The Branch cycle is Rat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig.

The Vietnamese horoscope has 12 animals as well. They are Rat, Cow, Tiger, Cat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig. But in the Vietnamese zodiac, the Cat replaces the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac.

Why the Cat replaces the Rabbit ?

No one actually know the real reason why cat has replaced rabbit in Vietnamese animal Zodiac.  According to http://zhidao.baidu.com the most plausible theory proposed was that when the 12 Animal Zodiac was introduced into Vietnam from China, the “Mao ” in the Zodiac year “Mao Tu 卯兔” (Mao Rabbit Year) has the same Chinese pronunciation as “Mao ” (cat). Because the “Mao Nian 卯年” (Mao Year) sounds the same as “Mao Nian 貓年” (cat year), the Vietnamese had made a mistake in the writing and recorded it as “cat year” (mao nian 貓年).

I just found out that for the Vietnamese, the 2011 lunar new year is the year of Cat when I visited Saigon recently (please see my post “3 Days in Saigon”). This has triggered me to learn more about Vietnamese Lunar New year or also known as  Tết.

What is  Tết?

Continue reading