Auspicious Things to say during Lo-Hei

Auspicious Things to say during Lo-Hei

Daniel Tay

In Singapore, lao yusheng ‘捞鱼生’or lo hei ‘捞起’ is a must-have dish during Chinese New Year due to its auspicious connotations. Yusheng implies “abundance of wealth and long life”, while the tossing action lo hei is a reference to tossing up good fortune. This dish is made up of over 10 ingredients, each symbolising well wishes for the new year.

The practice of eating raw fish can be traced back to as far as the Song Dynasty – it has been a traditional dish of the Cantonese people (which include the Teochews who are also from Canton province) that is eaten on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year to celebrate Ren Ri (The day god created humans in Chinese mythology). This eating habit was then imported to Singapore and Malaysia when Chinese migrants moved south, and this dish has since been localised to suit the local palate.

Yusheng is usually eaten with a big group of people. Auspicious words are said as each ingredient is added. Everyone will then toss the ingredients in the air and say well wishes. Each toss should go higher than the one before to represent progression and advancement. This usually ends in a big mess as half the yusheng ends up on the table, but no one seems to mind.

Auspicious words to say when putting the ingredients:

恭喜发财 (Gong Xi Fa Cai) meaning “Congratulations for your wealth”
万事如意 (Wan Shi Ru Yi) meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
Raw fish  年年有余 (Nian Nian You Yu) meaning “Abundance through the year”
Pomelo or lime  大吉大利 (Da Ji Da Li) meaning “Good luck and smooth sailing”
Pepper  招财进宝 (Zhao Cai Jin Bao) meaning “Attract wealth and treasures”
Oil  一本万利 (Yi Ben Wan Li) meaning “Make 10,000 times of profit with your capital”
Carrots  鸿运当头 (Hong Yun Dang Tou) meaning “Good luck is approaching”
Shredded green radish  青春常驻 (Qing Chun Chang Zhu) meaning “Forever young”
Shredded white radish  风生水起 (Feng Sheng Shui Qi) meaning “Progress at a fast pace”, or 步步高升 (Bu Bu Gao Sheng) meaning “Reaching higher level with each step”
Peanut crumbs  金银满屋 (Jin Yin Man Wu) meaning “Household filled with gold and silver”
Sesame seeds  生意兴隆 (Sheng Yi Xing Long) meaning “Prosperity for the business”
Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows  满地黄金 (Man Di Huang Jin) meaning “Floor full of gold”
Plum Sauce  甜甜蜜蜜 (Tian Tian Mi Mi) meaning “May sweetness enters your life”
Source: Wikipedia

You are free to say anything – as long as it’s auspicious and what you wish for the new year.