IPOH, Feb 22 — To celebrate Yan Yat (Cantonese for Human Day or everybody’s birthday) which falls on the seventh day of Chinese New Year, a soup kitchen here organised a birthday celebration for 150 of its regular “clients.”
Complete with three birthday cakes, sponsored by well wishers, “clients” were served pork and poultry congee and noodles.
Lovely Canteen supervisor Moke Yit Wing said this was the second year they were celebrating Yan Yat with “clients.”
“We want them to have a feel of Chinese New Year and sense of belonging. Most of them have been abandoned by their children,” he told Malay Mail.
The cook, added Moke, started cooking the congee at 9.30am. ”He only started cooking the noodles at 4pm to ensure it is still warm when they come to have their dinner from 5pm.”
Moke said traditionally, congee served during Yan Yat is cooked using fish.
“But we could not afford the fish so we fall back on pork and poultry,” he explained.
One of the “clients” Tan Siew Tin, 78, thanked Lovely Canteen for organising the celebration.
Tan, who had been coming to Lovely Canteen for the past year, said it sure cheered her up.
“My children are too busy to visit me as they are working outside of Perak. With the celebration at Lovely Canteen, I can feel the warmth of having a family,” said the mother of four.
Another “client” Kheong Pat Yin, 79, said he last tasted cake more than a decade ago.
“Having a slice of cake today sure brings back sweet memories,” said Kheong who comes from Buntong for dinner at Lovely Canteen daily.
According to Chinese mythology, Nuwa is the goddess who created the world. She created human beings on the seventh day after the creation of the world.
Yan Yat is celebrated with dishes such as the seven vegetable soup and seven vegetable congee.
But in Malaysia and Singapore, the Chinese celebrate with a seven-coloured raw fish dish commonly known as yee sang.