Today is Chap goh mei, the 15th day of the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year celebration, bringing the festivities to a close. Chap goh mei is actually a Hokkien phrase, a Chinese dialect spoken in parts of the south of China and in Taiwan in particular. In mainland China it is the Lantern Festival, or Yuan xiao jie in Mandarin.
For us this means preparing one of our supply of home reared ducks from the freezer, slow roasted with barbeque sauce. Janet makes her own sauce and includes her home made Chinese plum sauce as one of the components. The left over sauce is always saved and added to for the next time it is needed. Don't ask her for the recipe, its all done by eye and taste.
We have not had the traditional Chap goh mei treats of yuanxiao or the similar tangyuan for a while now as we cannot easily access a Chinese grocery. These are balls of glutinous rice with different types of filling such as black sesame or red bean paste. The round balls symbolise family unity and togetherness which continue to be powerful cultural aspects of Chinese New Year.
We have always celebrated or at least signified Chinese festivals and there are certain things Janet will do or not do on Chinese New Year's day. She will get many messages from family and friends from abroad and video clips of their local lion dance. Our three daughters will always send their greetings too.
Image by Conbo at vi.wikipedia