As Chinese New Year approaches, Malaysians across the country eagerly prepare to usher in the Year of the Dragon with vibrant festivities and delicious culinary traditions. Among these cherished customs is the joyous tossing of Yee Sang fondly called ‘lou sang‘ (the act of tossing), a symbolic dish that holds deep cultural significance. Wanna know more? Let’s delve into the rich history and meaning behind Yee Sang and discover why it has become an essential part of Malaysia’s Chinese New Year celebrations.
The Origins of Yee Sang:
Yee Sang, also known as “Lou Sang” in Cantonese, traces its roots to a small-business caterer in Seremban (among other origin stories), where it was enjoyed as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune during the Lunar New Year festivities. Over time, this tradition evolved and found its way to the rest of Malaysia and Singapore, where it became an integral part of the Chinese community’s New Year celebrations. It has now slowly spread to other parts of the world.
A superfoods version of yee sang
Significance in Malaysian Culture:
In Malaysia, Yee Sang is more than just a dish; it’s a joyful expression of unity, prosperity, and abundance. Families and friends gather around the table, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to partake in the ritualistic tossing of the colorful ingredients. The higher the toss, the greater the prosperity believed to come in the year ahead.
Each component of Yee Sang carries symbolic meaning. Make sure you say these elements out loud when assembling the items before the toss:
Raw fish slices
年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú) To always have more than enough; symbolizes abundance and prosperity.
青春常驻 (qīng chūn cháng zhù) May you be youthful and vital always; represent vitality and growth.
金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng) May your home be filled with wealth and treasure.
大小平安 (dà xiǎo píng ān) Peace and safety for all in your family.
Crispy crackers (pok chui)
黄金满地 (huáng jīn mǎn de) May wealth and prosperity be everywhere; signifying a prosperous year filled with joy and laughter.
Sweet plum sauce
甜甜蜜蜜 (tián tián mì mì) May your life be sweet like honey; binds the ingredients together, symbolizing the sweetness of life.
The act of tossing Yee Sang, also known as “lo hei” in Cantonese, is accompanied by auspicious phrases and well-wishes for the New Year. It’s a spirited affair filled with laughter and camaraderie, reinforcing the importance of togetherness and goodwill in Malaysian culture.
As you prepare to celebrate Chinese New Year with your loved ones, why not elevate your festivities with AEON’s wide array of Yee Sang offerings? Whether you prefer fresh, pre-packed, or dry Yee Sang, AEON stores has you covered with high-quality ingredients that are sure to delight your taste buds.
Visit any of our stores nationwide to explore our extensive selection of Yee Sang options (come visit our lou sang bar), meticulously curated to ensure freshness and flavor. From traditional classics to modern twists, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at AEON! Snap a pic of your yee sang (see below) and win AEON e-gift vouchers as well!
Feeling tired and want a ready-made one? Come to our fresh area at AEON Delicatessen (available at all AEON stores) for ready-to-eat yee sang (also available for delivery on myAEON2go!)
As we embrace the spirit of Chinese New Year, let’s remember the significance of Yee Sang in Malaysian culture. Beyond its delicious flavors, Yee Sang embodies the values of prosperity, unity, and togetherness that are cherished by all. Make this Chinese New Year truly memorable with AEON’s exquisite Yee Sang offerings, and may the Year of the Dragon bring abundance and joy to you and your loved ones. Gong Xi Fa Cai!