Last Saturday, we were invited to a Chinese New Year’s Eve family reunion. Cody and I were honored to be invited because this is typically the evening to spend solely with family members. Our friends Pam and Adrian had us over and Pam’s mother, Sally, cooked a delicious feast. It was the best Chinese food we’ve tried since arriving in Malaysia. The dinner involved some dishes that are only cooked once a year.
After dinner, we got to participate in the biggest past time during CNY, gambling. I was mesmerized watching everyone play Mahjong and after an hour of tiles feverishly being shuffled and money changing hands, we participated in the gambling tradition by playing some Black Jack and Baccarat. They were gambling big money, but were nice enough to let us play one dollar hands. I had never played Baccarat before, but I got the hang of it after a few hands. They were really inviting and helpful in learning the game, and together we actually walked away with 2 bucks after playing for hours.
While at dinner, we also got to receive the Chinese tradition of Ang Pow. For this tradition, elders who are married give small red envelopes to single children and adults filled with various amounts of money. The red signifies good luck and fortune. Cody and I were honored to each receive two beautiful red packets.
P.S. if you attend a social gathering in a Chinese home during CNY, do not wear black. We were not warned of this and unfortunately both wore black. Oops, live and learn. We also had to explain that in the US, if you want to dress up and look nice, black is a safe bet. For them though, it is death and bad luck.