Receiving Tradition | 传承

No matter what color I dye my hair to or how I dress, I have strong asian self identity internally and I am very proud of my heritage. I roll my eyes each time someone tells me that there are no traditions in Singapore. That is not true.

I resolve to pass down as many traditions as I can to Joy because I feel like it is one of my life mission as a mother. I can’t help it if traditions does not interest her enough for her to pass it on, but my job is to provide that exposure to her.

The English word for this self-imposed life mission is probably “succession” or “inheritance” but the Chinese version is more beautiful and impactful to me.

传承.
chuánchéng/.
动词.
传播和继承。 「文化 传承」.

I like how it is categorised as a 动词 (Verb). It suggests that people need to take active steps to make it happen and that is exactly how I see it. Someone needs to be willing to teach and someone needs to be willing to learn for it to be able to carry on and on and on.

There are many things I’d like to learn, so that I can pass it on to Joy and somehow, it seems to be largely related to food. Like making pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year, Tang Yuan for the Winter Solstice Festival (冬至)and Mooncakes for Moon Cake Festival (中秋节). Making these food are not necessarily difficult, but they are great opportunities for gatherings and interactions since multiple steps are usually involved and more hands make the work light. That gets conversations going and create memories.

I’m making it a point to learn one or two traditions a year. Last week, I learnt how to wrap rice dumplings from Jing of The Kam Family. She has generously opened up her home to fellow bloggers and friends for a few years now I think, and I missed so many sessions.  This year, I decided to drop everything and go for it. You can easily get recipes online and maybe watch a few youtube videos to learn the technique but after the session, I feel enlightened on why traditions should be passed on in person.

The spread of filings used in a Cantonese rice dumpling.

I didn’t just get to learn the how tos, I also experienced first hand how gatherings like this bring people closer.  I did not know half the company I was working with as they were Jin’s personal friends but in no time, we were laughing and chatting away while working to make delicious dumplings for our family with our own hands. My inheritance that day was priceless. Thank you very much Jing!

The very first rice dumpling I wrapped on my own.

Here’s the link to her post back in 2014 on passing on the tradition of wrapping rice dumplings:

传统节日的传承 Chinese festivity inherited

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