With Chinese New Year just around the corner, you can expect a sea of everything red, firecrackers, lion dance performances and people starting their many reunions with Yee Sang (a salad also known as the Prosperity Toss).
Especially among the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore, Yee Sang is a customary appetizer during Chinese New Year get-togethers as it symbolizes all things good – abundance and prosperity. Once the dish is prepared, people use their chopsticks to toss the salad as high as possible (the higher the toss, the better the new year) while saying auspicious wishes for a successful and smooth year ahead. Tip: Don’t be afraid to mess up the table.
Yee Sang, which means “increase in abundance and good health”, consists of over 20 auspicious ingredients with each representing a particular meaning. Raw salmon is used in the salad to symbolize a prosperous year as the pronunciation of the word fish in Chinese ‘yu’ is a homophone for prosperity. The crackers symbolize a land full of gold, the plum sauce represents a sweet life and the carrots, for luck. Yes, you get the picture. Chinese New Year is after all a season surrounding auspiciousness, good health, prosperity and happiness.
So, when you do go out during this festive season, and spot people tossing their food in the air while shouting auspicious phrases, or the aftermath of a messy table, don’t be surprised. Better yet, order yourself a yee sang, and toss away!
Gōng xǐ fā cái (Wishing you wealth and prosperity)
Wàn shì rú yì (May everything go well with you)
Suì suì píng ān (May you have peace every year)
Here’s to a better 2020!