Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fu Dao Le

          'Fu Dao Le' ! sound's weird? Well ,this is a Chinese word  and let me tell you the reason for writing this post.It is the Chinese new year and spring festival season and the term is related to that.So here's wishing a very happy and prosperous new year to the Chinese readers if any:).According to the Chinese calender, year 2011 is 4078 for them and is regarded as the  'year of Rabbit /'Xin Mao' .Last year 2010 was 'year of tiger'.They have animals as mascots for representing their years ,and they have 12 animals as mascots and these year names are repeated in a sequence every 12 years.This year , Chinese new year falls on the 3 rd February,which is today!
           I learnt about Fu Dao Le through my opposite house resident ,who has her origins from China.Last Evening as I was having a stroll in front of my apartment ,I noticed that the opposite house had  Red banner attached  to  the front door with golden color scripts written in Chinese and also some decorative elements and pictures of Chinese god/goddess/dragons attached to it .On inquiring her with utmost curiosity,she narrated to me explaining that it was their new year and  they  have the tradition of placing this particular banner on the front door during the new year to fill their upcoming year full of luck and cheers. The script mainly had the word 'Fu' which was written upside down and  was comprehended by anyone visiting the home as 'Fu Dao Le'='Luck has arrived'.Actually ,the word 'Fu' means luck ;'Dao Le 'means 'has come' and also word Dao is used in another sense too which means 'down or  to fall'.So ,when the 'Fu' word  is written  upside down ,it is understood and read as 'Fu Dao Le'.The purpose of placing these posters on the door  during their new year ,was to invite the fortune or good luck .The color red in the banner signified  danger sign to  the monster 'Nian ',who visited the Chinese houses during the New year's eve.It was believed that the  particular color would frighten the monster which also signified bad omen.
            Today morning,inspired by their traditions, I also visited the "Ranch Market"near my place,which is an exclusive Chinese market which sells all the Chinese grocery items,vegetables ,fruits and mainly sea food.The place was decorated for new year with red lanterns and bells all over the ceiling ;some decorative items ,red traditional greeting cards,food stuff for sale and was crowded for the festival sales.There I talked to a few people and learnt a few other interesting facts. The Chinese new year lasts fro 15 days from day 1 ,till the full moon day .The full moon day is another festival for them and is 'Lantern festival',which is also celebrated by lighting various colorful lanterns outside the houses and streets and a hearty family  dinner with steamed dumplings . A strange fact what a lady explained to me was that,on the new year day ,they would not clean the house, as that would reflect that they would be sweeping away all the fortune for the house!Amazed and perplexed ,I returned back home wondering about the traditions.

PS:Here are few photographs from the Ranch Market.

Beautiful  Red Lanterns decorated.
Lantern and a bell 

Chinese script read as 'Happy new year'(as told by the cashier)

Some beautiful greeting cards

Some decorative items and festive sale items displayed.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

One crazy day with pumpkin.

It was yet another Sunday and we had been to the grocery store for our regular weekend  grocery and vegetable shopping ,when my hubby  found a big grey ash gourd which was waiting for him to be picked up.So with the desire to relish on 'kashi halva'(a desert /sweet made with it),my hubby carried it home excitedly like a 'baby 'carried snugly on  arms.I was just grumbling within myself , foreseeing the difficulties I would face through in the process of preparing this dish and was calculating  all possible excuses to procrastinate  this straining  task.Nevertheless I was sure that there was no escape ;and I would be compelled to do the process of peeling ,grating ,cooking the grated gourd for a prolonged 1 hour time in sugar syrup ,accompanied by muscle pains on hands and shoulders , to  finally eat one small mass of condensed pumpkin dessert.To aggravate my grievance ,my dear hubby even added "If you find it hard to grate the whole gourd ,you can even keep a small portion for the 'curd curry' or 'dosa" and as if trying to propagate  the concept of 'recycling ',he also reminded me not to waste the pumpkin peel and that it  could be used for a 'sabji/palya/dry fry with  lentils!So with a sigh ,I reached home and after some efforts from my husband's side to pamper and motivate me ,I headed towards the kitchen and started cutting the pumpkin.And  guess what? to my delight I found that a  major portion of the pumpkin was rotten!Now it was my turn ;so with a sad face I went to my husband to show his rotten selection  and  somehow managed to convince him to compromise with  a  'curry'.:)So there ends the crazy day with the pumpkin:)