It’s Lunar New Year – Time to fill up your rice bucket!
Chinese New Year is a time of great festive celebration as it is one of the major celebrations for the Chinese. During this period of time, there are many traditions in which the Chinese will keep in order to have a good start for the year. Most of these traditions are passed down from generations to generations, giving rise to the confusion of the younger generations. Admittedly, there are some which really sound rather outdated or superstitious in today’s time and age, but most people still do it to please their elder folks at home.
Out of the many traditions that the Chinese have during the Chinese New Year celebration, there is one which is interesting and might actually make sense to the younger generation. This tradition is what the Chinese call – 把米桶装满 – which loosely translates to filling up the rice container.
The Chinese believes that the filling up of the rice container is a symbolic representation of filling up wealth. Therefore, the rice container will always be filled to the brim with rice. It is also advisable for the family to stick the Chinese word “满” on the container to bless the family that they will always have a container full of rice for the whole year.
By filling up the rice container, the family is blessed with food for the whole year, but filling it up to the brim represents that the family will have excess. In our modern world, this can easily be seen as preparing for rainy days since the family is prudent to save enough food (ie money) for any emergencies that might happen during the year. In some families, the tradition goes further by putting a pair of sweet sticky cakes (年糕) on top of the full container to wish that the rice container will grow bigger and bigger every year.
Although this practise might sound like a bore to some younger folks, it is actually a meaningful event to do in the house during the Chinese New Year. Even if it is superstitions, it is still a sign that the New Year is coming when you see the rice container filled up with blessing for the family.
Written by Zerlina Zhuang
Disclaimer: The article is presented in the writer’s own words based on online research and references.