“What? Lo Hei, again? Didn’t we do it at Grandma’s just yesterday?!” I ask my mother each year as she tells me we’re about to have my 5th prosperity toss for the week. Why do we have to do it at our paternal and maternal families’ reunion dinners, at work, at gatherings with friends, and then again with our immediate families? I don’t even like sashimi that much. Ugh.
Having studied the human psyche, I discovered 8 reasons why people still Lo Hei multiple times each Lunar New Year – even if they, like me, get sick of it by the nth time.
#1. It’s more about the gathering of people, less about the dish
Food doesn’t just sustain us, it gives us something to bond over. This is especially so given that Lunar New Year is a time for getting together with people whom you may not have met all year. To the point on why we do it multiple times: every Lo Hei involves bonding with different groups of people, so doing it once just isn’t enough!
#2. To exchange blessings/well-wishes with loved ones, in a fun way
Chinese customs dictate that we bless others with well-wishes during the New Year. Lo Hei allows us to do just that while dispensing with the formalities since we’re meant to be as boisterous as we can with every toss! Click here for a list of auspicious phrases you can use during the Lo Hei.
#3. To start the New Year with a positive outlook
Whether or not these ‘auspicious phrases’ truly bring you good luck, it’s hard to start the year on a negative note when you’re wishing your loved ones (and vice versa) every success in the year to come. These well-wishes are thus more likely than not to become self-fulfilling prophecies as you tell yourself that it’s going to be a good year. And the more you do it, the more true it becomes (so we hope).
#4. It’s delicious!
It certainly does help that Yu Sheng tastes so good with its mix of soft, crunchy, sweet and sour components. Is it really any wonder that people want to keep eating it?
#5. It ensures you get a balanced meal
Have you ever realized how Lunar New Year feasting is heavy on meats and seafood, but not on vegetables? Given that Yu Sheng is 90% made of shredded vegetables, it gives you the vitamins and fibre you’ll need amidst all the feasting. #fitspo #eatclean
#6. It’s the only time where playing with food is socially acceptable
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. We’re expected to display proper dining etiquette for all other days of the year. But because the tradition of Lo Hei necessitates that we shout out auspicious phrases as loudly as we can while tossing the salad as high as possible, it’s the only time our elders will actually approve of us making a mess of our food.
#7. Guaranteed likes for your next IG post
This one’s for those who live by social media. Even if all of the above don’t convince you of the importance of Lo Hei, know that a pre-tossed Yu Sheng will in the very least make for a vibrantly coloured flatlay, and that you’ll have at least one thing on your Instastory this Lunar New Year when you Lo Hei with the family.
#8. It just wouldn’t be the Lunar New Year without Lo Hei
Call it circular reasoning, but the fact of the matter is that Lo Hei has become such a staple activity for the Lunar New Year in Singapore that it’s probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think back on our past experiences of the occasion.
That’s exactly why Chef Sam Leong of Forest森 has come up with a Bring Back Memories Yu Sheng for 2018, one that will sail you back to the good ol’ times of yesteryear with every bite.
Let us know in the comments below if there’re other reasons why you love Lo Hei!