Chinese New Year Customs: People Day & YuSheng
Today is commonly referred to as 人日 ( ren ri, the day of human) and it is considered as birthday for everyone.
In most part of China, people will have noodles on this day, because noodles symbolise longevity in Chinese culture.
In south part of China and even South East Asia, particularly Malaysia and Singapore, Chinese people will take yusheng on this day to celebrate everyone’s birthday. (鱼生), also known as lo hei (Cantonese for 捞起, lao qi, or toss up) is a Chinese style raw fish salad. It usually consists of strips of raw fish (most commonly salmon), mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients.
Yusheng literally means ‘raw fish’ but since ‘fish (鱼)’ is commonly conflated with its homophone “abundance (余)”, yusheng (鱼生) is interpreted as a homophone for yusheng (余升) meaning an increase in abundance. Therefore, yusheng is considered as a symbol of abundance and prosperity.
The yusheng had fish served with white radish, carrots, red pepper, turnips, red pickled ginger, sun-dried oranges, Chinese parsley, chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, Chinese shrimp crackers (or fried dried shrimp), five spice powder and other ingredients, laced with a sauce using plum sauce, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil.
It is common to say auspicious wishes as each ingredient is added.
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