Today being the 24th day of the 12th month of the lunar calender (7 days before the Lunar New Year), last day for some Chinese-Teochews that I know who would offer these sweet glutinous rice cakes to the kitchen god.
According to believers, on this day the kitchen god returns to heaven to report on the family’s behavior during the year. A negative report by the kitchen god means a family will suffer from bad luck during the coming year. So you offer these sweet cakes (as a bribe) to the kitchen god so that he will report good things in heaven. 🙂
Nian gao or Lunar New Year sweet cake also symbolises unity in the family. Nian is a homonym for both sticky and year, and gao is a homonym for cake and to rise up. It is a must at Lunar New Year’s time to wish for a family that is stuck together and for good luck in the coming year. Some say that the higher the cake rises in the steamer, the higher family fortunes will rise in the coming year.
So go grab one of these sweet cakes today. It keeps for a long time anyway. It still can be eaten if you find molds growing on them. Just wipe with a wet kitchen towel, slice it up, steam it until soft and coat it with fresh grated coconut or fry it with beaten eggs.