Chinese New Year* this year fell on January 31st, preceded by a week of shopping and preparations in my house. I went with my mother all over Melbourne (namely Springvale, Footscray and Box Hill) to find the chickens, which have to be fully intact when you put them out on the prayer table. This is one of the two chickens she bought and steamed at home. Mum saw me getting ready to take photos, and she quickly draped the chicken with some Chinese Long beans* to give it some colour. The dark pieces in the front are the liver and kidney.
Some families pray for ten days, but we do a modest three and even then its a lot of work. Each day there are different meals to be cooked and then separated into different dishes for the entrance and the prayer table. Then we light incense, say our prayers, pour some wine on the floor, and burn some paper offerings – it’s not Chinese New Year ’til you set the fire alarms off! I also made a short video:
*Its more PC to say Lunar New Year, but since the Chinese like to think China is the cradle of civilisation (a la pretty much every other group on earth) I’m keeping to our family’s ethnocentric choice of works for a more faithful description of our perspective. Ditto with the beans.