Chinese all over the world are entering into the Year of Rooster past 12am tonight. Though Chinese New Year’s traditions vary from country to country, there is one particular tradition in Southeast Asia has been practised by generations, till today – Lohei.
Originated from Malaysia, Chinese eats Yee Sang during Chinese New Year. Putting aside the delicious and refreshing dish for a second, the most important practise though is the tossing before eating it, called Lohei (means mixup literally, translated as prosperity toss).
Yee Sang literally means “Raw Fish” but it’s not a must to have raw fish in this dish nowadays, it is mainly made up with multiple raw, shredded vegetables in different colours to symbolise a colourful year ahead, plum sauce and spices. Each ingredient on the plate signifies a New Year greeting, for example when the plum sauce is added into the dish, it symbolises sweetness in life; while carrots symbolise blessing of good luck.
Conflated with its homophone, Yee Sang also means “increase in abundance”. Thus the higher one tosses the Yee Sang, the better it is as it signifies a large amount of increase in abundance for the coming year.
Yee Sang [noun] shredded vegetables in multiple colours, topped with raw fish (optional), plum sauce and spices.
Lohei [verb] a toss to mix the ingredients of Yee Sang. The action of tossing, brings prosperity as New Years wishes are being said during the process. The higher one tosses, the better.