There will be no prayers on the eve, or the 9th day, as we would always do in all these years.
For the first time in my life, we didn’t have to prepare and try to stay awake until 2 or 3 in the morning to start the prayer.
Every Chinese New Year (before and during), we would usually be very busy (or at least my mom is). She would cook a sumptuous reunion lunch, where my aunts (or few uncles) would come and feast. At night, we would go to my mom’s sister’s house for another round of reunion dinner. In the late evening, we would then start preparing for the midnight prayer which we call it “Receiving the God of Wealth” prayer. There is the best time to start the prayer so that it will bring us a good fortune and luck for the rest of the year (call us superstitious but no harm, right?). It’s usually any hour between 12 midnight to 3 in the morning.
The biggest and most important prayer for us is on the 9th day. The birthday of the Jade Emperor, and also the biggest for Hokkien people like me and my family. Even more important than the other prayers during the CNY period. That would be another busy day before, on the 8th day. At the stroke of 12, we would then start the prayer, burning of paper offerings to the Jade Emperor. The prayer could last for hours and finished by 2 or 3 latest.
As my grandma has just passed away a few months back, we are still in the mourning period. As a tradition, we are mourning for 3 years. Somehow, we were told that we are to skip CNY for 2 years (this and next).
Since we are spared from the prayers and all the busy works, Mom suggested to go for a short trip. We had a 2D1N at Ipoh, went to few tourist spots, met up with Julia (her husband, Boon Wee’s hometown in Ipoh), chilled in the rented apartment, while the monkeys went to the pool.