Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It is the time of the year again....not what you think it is!

It is the time of the year again! No, I'm not talking about the school holidays and neither am I talking about the many sales going on at the mall. I'm talking about spring cleaning time! Yes, time to clear and clean the house. 'Cheng Chooh' as what Penangites calls it. This is actually a Chinese tradition. Cheng literally translated is dust in our local Hokkien dialect and Chooh is home. This is in preparation for our Chinese New Year in February. House will normally be done before the beginning of the Winter Solstice. A day when rice balls (tong yuen) are made and eaten. I couldn't wait till the weekend for more help and since I'm sort of 'off work from the office'; I decided to do it my way. On my own.
Back in grandma and mom's days a bunch of bamboo leaves are purchased from the wet market for the brushing part. Well, needless to say, I forgot about the bamboo leaves part till I've dressed down to my shorts and T. What else is there left to do except to cut the bamboo leaves from the pot I have outside. Right? Oh I know mom or grandma will make lots of sounds and noises if they see what I did. Then and again, I do try to keep all the rites and rituals that I've been taught. I used bamboo didn't I? The only thing is, these are young ones and they are not bought from the market. Still, I used bamboo as instructed, no? As far and as much as I can remember, bamboo leaves has some 'cleansing' effect and this is the reason why they must be used.
I cheated after a while and used this instead. A plastic brush stuck to a very long stick. It is cleaner, faster and the stick is longer. Of course, the best thing to use would be the vacuum cleaner. Heeheee....I managed to finish all corners (up the ceiling and down), nooks and crannies. It is done, yay!
As I was 'chenging' (brushing in English) I can't help, reminiscing about the time and meaning of spring cleaning back when I was a child. Back then, it was quite an enjoyable time for cousins and me. The whole household is involved. My pa would even take leave from his work. It really was FUN time for us children. Then and again, as children we enjoy any extra activities, don't we? I remember how we had to tie towels or men's handkerchiefs below our eyes to cover our nose and mouth. Oh, that is to prevent the dust and dirt from us. Yes, that is how dirty the house was. We even had bandanas tied on our heads. was fun with all the laughing and sometimes pretending to accidentally brush each other's face. After all the cleaning, it will be chow time outside. That is a treat in itself for all of us children.
Today, it is a different picture altogether. I am not sure about those living in the rural areas but for us urbanites, I know of many homes where the maids do the spring cleaning or for some, none at all. It isn't that they live in dirty houses but it is or could be that traditions aren't held that dear and near anymore. Me, I do not claim to practice all and everything, I just try to remember and do as many and much as I could. Now, if you will forgive and excuse me, I got to go and 'oil' my neck. It is still creaking each time I turn my head. It has been more than 12 hours plus and it still can't stop creaking. That's how hard I've worked spring cleaning the house just to keep the tradition alive. Ahemmmm......! :o)


Arief Arf said...

oh, chenging is done really really early huh?
i never knew that.

and yeah, family activities like that are always fun, and they make the family ties grow stronger.

but you dont see that anymore nowadays, especially in the big cities huh..

i feel so old!

X) said...

Hi Arief, We do learn something thro the blogs we visit, no? Happy to provide u this little bit. Imagine in Penang dis activities r already almost hilang. I can imagine what is happening where you are. U r still young! All the best. :o)

hans said...

today is different right? said...

Sorry Hans. I've been away. Shall I say Yes to your question. Very much different. Dusting done mostly by maids and using a vacuum cleaner?! All the best to you. :o)