Nothing gets a Chinese New Year get together to a more rousing start than an energetic lou hei yee sang (or yusheng) 捞起魚生 raw fish salad tossing session.
Originally an informal Chinese New Year custom among Southeast Asian Chinese, lou hei yee sang has since spread to other Chinese communities around the world.
Setting off the LIVINGGRAND Chinese New Year celebrations at Grand Hyatt Singapore to a grand start
Nowadays, at Chinese New Year gatherings, a customary round of exuberant lou hei yee sang is almost mandatory (especially in Singapore and Malaysia).
Lou Hei Yusheng is essentially a salad with all the ingredients selected because of their auspiciousness. So when the revellers toss the lou hei yusheng, they will shout out the auspicious phrases with gusto.
Few things bind family, friends, and communities together like shouting out and showering well wishes and blessings on everyone in unison.
There are variations of the auspicious phrases over the decades (since lou hei yee sang first appeared in the 1960s). Here are the common ones (in Mandarin Chinese):
- Fish 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú) Always have more than enough
- Carrots 鸿运当头 (hóng yùn dāng tóu) May good fortune be upon you
- Green radish 青春常驻 (qīng chūn cháng zhù) May you be youthful and vital always
- White radish 风生水起 (fēng shēng shuǐ qǐ) May your success roar like the wind and waves
- Pamelo / Lime 大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì) Wish you good luck and good profits
- Pepper 招财进宝 (zhāo cái jìn bǎo) Attract wealth and receive treasures
- Chinese 5-spice powder 五福臨門 (wǔ fú lín mén) May all good fortune be upon you and your family
- Sesame seeds 大小平安 (dà xiǎo píng ān) Peace and safety for all in your family
- Ground Peanut 金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng) May your home be filled with wealth and treasure
- Fried Crisps 黄金满地 (huáng jīn mǎn de) May wealth and prosperity be everywhere
- Peanut oil 家肥屋嫩 (jiā féi wū nèn) Prosperity and harmony at home
- Sesame oil 财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn) May wealth pour in from all directions
- Plum sauce 甜甜蜜蜜 (tián tián mì mì) May your life be sweet like honey!
Other auspicious phases (in Mandarin Chinese) commonly recited during the toss include:
- 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè) Happy New Year!
- 喜气洋洋 (xǐ qì yáng yang) Joy is in the air!
- 恭喜發財 (gōng xǐ fā cái) Congratulations to you for your wealth / May you be rich and wealthy
- 龙马精神 (lóng mǎ jīng shén) Wish you good health and vitality
- 生意兴隆 (shēng yi xīng lóng) May your business thrive and flourish
- 財源滾滾 (cái yuán gǔn gǔn) May wealth roll in, in waves upon waves
- 工作顺利 (gōng zuò shùn lì) Wish you smooth progress at work
- 马到成功 (mǎ dào chéng gōng) Wish you swift success
- 步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng) Steady progress with every step
- 大展鴻圖 (dà zhǎn hóng tú) May your success be glorious and prominent
- 花開富貴 (huā kāi fù guì) May your wealth and prestige bloom
- 万事如意 (wàn shì rú yì) May all your wishes come true
- 心想事成 (xīn xiǎng shì chéng) May all your wishes come true
- 萬事勝意 (wàn shì shèng yì) May everything turn out even better than what you wished for
- 吉星高照 (jí xīng gāo zhào) May the star of fortune shine brightly upon you
- 吉慶有餘 (jí qìng yǒu yú) May you have more than enough good fortune
- 名揚四海 (míng yáng sì hǎi) May your fame be known across the four seas
- 幸福永远 (xìng fú yǒng yuǎn) May your love be forever blissful
- 身体健康 (shēn tǐ jiàn kāng) Wish you good health
- 福壽雙全 (fú shòu shuāng quán) May you be blessed with good fortune and longevity
- 身壯力健 (shēn zhuàng lì jiàn) May you be strong and healthy
- 笑口常开 (xiào kǒu cháng kāi) Keep smiling always
- 歲歲平安 (suì suì píng ān) May peace and safety be with you, year after year
- 团团圆圆 (tuán tuán yuán yuán) May your family be united and harmonious
- 閤家平安 (gé jiā píng ān) Wish your family peace and safety
- 阖家欢乐 (hé jiā huān lè) Happiness for your whole family!
These auspicious greetings can also be used anytime during the fifteen days of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Watch the story of lou hei yee sang as told by the Four Heavenly Kings 四大天王 of Cantonese cuisine in Singapore.
May I wish everyone kong hee fatt choy! 恭喜发财! May you be healthy, wealthy and prosperous!
More on Yusheng for the history buff 👈 click
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