Its cultural significance is similar to the Thanksgiving dinner of the West. The modern families are separated by obligations of career and marriage. Hence the yearly rush back to hometowns to reunite for the dinner. In China, the exodus can result in traffic jams hundreds of miles long and at one time, it lasted for weeks.
Nu Sentral put up an interesting mock up of the traditional reunion dinner table setting when I visited. The dishes were sampuru or Japanese fake or plastic display food. Reunion feast usually includes sumptuous dishes like prawns and steamed chicken meant for the prayer altar, fish and tinned abalone, mushrooms stir fried with mixed vegetables. Missing here is the customary soup. There are no hard and fast rules and the dishes cooked or served can vary according to household and family custom.
The reunion dinner custom serves more than eating. Daughter-in-laws face pressure when they are required to demonstrate their cooking skills. The sitting down is a time to catch up on news of siblings and relatives. It is also a time when younger members are interrogated on marriage and expectancy of babies for newly married couples, Thus, it is an event not always look forward to by all.
Panasonic Lumix GM-1, ISO 1000, f4, 1/60 sec.
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