Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cousin's 80 Years Grand Birthday Celebration

Last weekend I drove back to Ipoh to attend my cousin brother birthday celebration. The typical impression when one speaks about their cousin is that their age is usually close to the person talking about it. However in my clan, my brothers and sisters are born much later so in terms of age most of my cousins (in fact 10 of them) are much older than us. My family has moved to Kuala Lumpur since the 1960s but almost all my cousins remained in Ipoh. So this trip is the first time I met most of my cousin brothers and sisters in Ipoh when we attended my 5th cousin brother's 80 years grand birthday!

In Chinese tradition, whenever someone has reached the age of 80 years old, the family members will usually organized a grand birthday party (Tai Sow) for him/her. The objective is mainly to celebrate the longevity of life for reaching 80 years of age. The celebration was held in a restaurant at Pasir Pinji with 25 tables filled with family members, relatives from the clan and friends of the family.

Instead of the normal wedding decoration, the main stage was decorated with the simple wording of Longevity.

Just like the in thing in any wedding dinner where there is slideshow of the wedding photos, my cousin's family also has a slide show of the childhood and life photos of my 5th cousin brother and his family over the years. Of course most of the photos are in black and white given that he was born in the 1920s.

The foods served are also worded to add meanings to the longevity theme. A total of 8 dishes were served.
The very first dish that is a must in any grand birthday is the Sow Bao (Longevity Bun).

The rest of the dishes include four seasons, fish, chicken, prawn, vegetable, longevity noodles and sweet desserts.

You might noticed that all the serving plates used to serve the food are huge, to go along with the theme of Tai (big)

After the meal, the "Sow Sing Kong" (as we call him in Cantonese) then goes through the cake cutting, pouring of wines and then a simple "Yam Seng" cheer with the guests.

One thing I learned from this experience is that life is a long and winding road. There are many decades for one to traverse but one should cherish every moments. When you celebrate your 80 years old grand birthday later with your family and relatives, you know you have come a long way and you can look forwards to the next decade. I still have a long way to go in this winding road and I want to enjoy every moments I can.

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