Grandma Liou Liao's New Year in Liouguei／阿嬤們的高雄新年 劉廖玉金─六龜的客家庄新年
Grandma Liou Liao's New Year in Liouguei
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting ◎Photos by Kang Chn-cai, Pao Chung-hui
At the time of the interview, Grandma Liou Liao Yu-jin was at her grandson's house, where she lives on the top floor of their two-story apartment. Sitting on her green sofa in her living room, Grandma Liou Liao seemed a bit of embarrassed by the arrival of visitors. "I have been suffering from influenza lately," she admitted. Grandma Liou Liao had wanted to be her usual energetic self for her interview. However, as the interview went on Grandma Liou Liao began to relax.
Born in 1931, Grandma Liou Liao grew up in Liouguei's Hakka Village. Her parents had originally settled at Nianhu, Miaoli County, but relocated to Liouguei to open a hardware store, which is still located beside Liouguei's bus station. The humble hardware store supported the family of seven children, until Grandma Liou Liao married Mr. Liou Mao-ji, a Taiwanese man who worked at the Farmer's Association. At 21, she bid farewell to her beloved hometown and moved to Tantou Village in Linyuan.
When Grandma Liou Liao recalled her Lunar New Year in Liouguei, her eyes lit up with joy. "Lunar New Year brings back memories of my happy childhood," she exclaims happily, basking in the celebratory joy of Lunar New Year in Liouguei.
The process of preparing the food amplifies the atmosphere of New Year. The grown-ups would devote themselves to the meticulous process of baking rice cakes and Jhongzih (sticky-rice dumpling) for the New Year. At Grandma Liou Liao's table there would always be sweet cakes and Luobo Pudding (shredded white turnip and grained rice). Pork was a special dish as it wasn't affordable for everyday meals at that time.
Grandma Liou Liao's also remembered how her sister, who was tailor specializing in Western clothing and probably busiest during the New Year, would always manage to find time to make each of her siblings an new outfit. During her childhood, Grandma Liou Liao would happily dress up in their new clothes to pay homage at the shrine. They would pray for the upcoming year on the first day of Lunar New Year. All these factors had been essential parts of Grandma's New Year's memories, which give her many reasons to smile and plenty of good resources to make a wonderful story-teller.