So the Lunar New Year celebrations have begun and you and your little ones are tossing your first yu sheng. Only problem is: you don’t know what the correct order is, nor the phrases that accompany each step. Here’s our super quick guide. Bonus: A lot of these are perfect for greeting your relatives with!
1. Raw fish
Accompanying phrase: 年年有余 (nián nián yǒu yú) which represents an excess abundance through the new year.
Accompanying phrase: 大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì) wishing your family/colleagues good fortune and luck.
3. Pepper and cinnamon
Accompanying phrase: 招财进宝 (zhāo cái jìn bǎo), to attract treasure (bao 宝) and wealth (cai 财).
Accompanying phrase: 财源广进 (Cái yuán guǎng jìn), to have an abundance of wealth and fortune.
Accompanying phrase: 鸿运当头 (hóng yùn dāng tóu), that is, good luck is right at the doorstep.
6. Green radish
Accompanying phrase: 青春常驻 (qīng chūn cháng zhù), which is a wish for eternal youth.
7. White radish
Accompanying phrase: 风生水起 (fēng shēng shuǐ qǐ) and 步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng) or a prosperous business, and for employees, a promotion.
8. Chopped peanuts
Accompanying phrase: 金银满屋 (jīn yín mǎn wū), or a home filled with gold and silver. Additionally, the peanut is a symbol of eternal youth.
9. Sesame seeds
Accompanying phrase: 生意兴隆 (shēng yì xīng lóng), for a prosperous business. .
Accompanying phrase: 遍地黄金 (biàn dì huáng jīn), or having the entire floor filled with gold.
11. Plum sauce
Accompanying phrase: 甜甜蜜蜜 (tián tián mì mì), wishing everyone sweet and loving relationships.
Finally, mix the salad and chime in with all sorts of auspicious greetings like the ones above. The fail-safe, of course, is 发啊 (fā a) “Huat Ah”, but you might want to vary it a bit.
Rat Year Greetings: As the Mandarin words for “rat” and “number/counting” are homonyms, you could say 祝你有”鼠”不尽 的(zhù nǐ yǒu”shǔ”bù jìn de), or “Wishing you endless/countless…”, followed by the specific blessing. Examples of this could be:
1) happiness 幸福 xìng fú
2) joy, literally “smiles” 笑容 xiào róng
3) wealth 财富 cái fù
4) bliss in relationships, literally, “sweet” 甜蜜 tián mì
5) health 健康 jiàn kāng
Additionally, if your toddler or preschooler wants to join in, but hasn’t quite grasped chopsticks yet, they could try using these for practice: Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Training Chopsticks ($12.90) or the Pigeon Training Chopsticks for left-handers ($6.90).