Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ABC Wedesday: B for Birthday

Sticky Taiwanese nougats from my friends Lily and Maggie.

Chinese dates


Today, lunar 23rd is the first day that many people celebrate the Lunar New Year. On this day, the Kitchen God returns to Heaven to report to the Heavenly King all that he had heard. The Heavenly King will reward or punish the household based on the kitchen god's report.

There is a special cake which is very popular, it is called the NIEN GAO. Translated as New year Cake. In my dialect, we called it DAI TUNG JIET Accordingly, there is a Kitchen God CHOU DOW KUNG who listens to all the news and gossips of the household. On this particular day, called the Kitchen God returns to Heaven to report to the Heavenly King all that he had heard. The Heavenly King will reward or punish the household based on the kitchen god's report.

Men found a way, that is to serve the kitchen god this sticky NIEN GAO so he couldn't open his mouth to say all the bad things and other sweet lollies. Even if he could, he wouldn't because he himself would be accused of corruption, having eaten the cake.

I just found that the Hakkas which my husband and my mum belong to, they put the sweet Chinese dates in the cake.

My brother Joseph was born on the day the Kitchen God went to Heaven. My Grandma used to call him the little kitchen god. Every year, on Joseph's birthday, we had a big celebration. Every though we became Christians, tradition is not forgotten. If my grandma is still alive, she would say, the King of the Heavens have blessed Joseph very much. He has a beautiful wife, Audrey, wonderful boys and a great job.

Happy Birthday Joseph.


Roger Owen Green said...

happy BIRTHDAY, JOSEPH. you have a great sister.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

photowannabe said...

How sweet. Happy Birthday too. That is quite a celebration and I'm glad you still keep the family traditions.

Ginny Hartzler said...

I didn't know there were Chinese dates. This story is so funny, and clever! And great party pictures. I think I eat way too many sticky treats, so I am most certainly corrupt!!

mona said...

a birthday celebration here, happy bday :) MY ENTRY IS HERE have a peek :)

Rune Eide said...

You must forward my congratulations, too.

Lulu Post said...

Happy Birthday!

Visiting you from ABC Wednesday. Following your blog too. I hope you can return the favor.

B is for Books

Francisca said...

First, happy birthday to your "little kitchen god" brother, Joseph. Looks like you had a tasty celebration. A friend came over last night to give us nian gao... it looks fresh and super yummy. We went to a weiya in China last week, but we'll be in Manila for the new lunar year, so probably not much of a celebration. Maybe just a special blog post? :-D

Sylvia K said...

Oh, a very Happy Birthday to Joseph! What a wonderful celebration and tradition! And thank you, Ann, for sharing the fun and the history with us today! Perfect for the B Day! Hope you both are enjoying a great week!


Cezar and Léia said...

I think this post is also a beautiful homage for your friends there.Happy Birthday to Joseph!
His family is adorable, and wow that cake looks delicious!
Wonderful moment for sure!
Hey, I loved your comment in my blog, and I'm always thinking about "how the French women can be slim, with all delicious types of cheeses, wonderful wine, chocolates, and the cakes and candies! :) In fact,I see they are slim and I'm here so envious! hehehe
I've got 6 kg since I'm living here...well but here is Luxembourg not France! LOL
I think the meals here are more to German than French!

Kim, USA said...

Say my birthday greetings to Joseph. Keeping a family generations is crucial in this fast pace generation. Happy Wednesday!
abc wednesday

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Happy Chinese New Year, Ann... As you know, George spent quite a bit of time in China teaching English. He loved it there. I hope he takes me there sometime ---AFTER we go to Australia and New Zealand first... ha


George said...

Happy Birthday, Joseph! I hope you had a wonderful celebration.
I had not heard the story of the kitchen god before, so I thank you for sharing it with us.

Wanda said...

Happy Birthday ~~ Ann, the young boy in the black TeeShirt looks so much my like my grandson Jon, I can't belive it.

Birthday is a great B word.

ChrisJ said...

Hi Ann: just wanted to reply to your comment on my blog. Yes, I do publish all my blogs, but I only blog 3 or 4 times a week and sometimes not that. I did it for just my own (and family) personal record. It costs $70-80 dollars, but that's with a lot of pages, and I have time to prepare for the expense. Also I let them do the layout, which isn't always the best -- descriptions matching photos etc. but if I get picky about it it takes too much time and expense and then I wouldn't do it.

Happy Birthday to Joseph.

Gunsside said...

Looks like a lovely birthday, with great traditions ;))

Carver said...

I hope it was a Happy birthday. Looks like a fun treat filled one!

Kay L. Davies said...

Birthday parties are great, and this one seems to be extra special.
My brothers are "kitchen gods" too - they both help their wives with cooking, and cleaning the kitchen!
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Troy - ABC Wednesday Team said...

I promise, if you ever feed me cake, I wont say bad things about you either.

What an interesting and fun post.

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you for participating. We are off to a great start this round, and hope to see you back each week.

Bradley Hsi said...

I almost forget about this special day for the kitchen god. My mother also used to make the sticky cake every Chinese New Year and I certainly know about the kitchen god story. Have a happy Chinese New Year.