Gong Xi! Gong Xi! This being the first day of the Year of the Snake, let me wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
Isn’t it always a joy when it’s the Chinese New Year? Seeing the splash of colours is a real visual treat for the eyes, and it certainly puts me in a feel-good mood. Then, there’s the part about the New Year where I get to enjoy all things new and the get-togethers. 🙂
Red & Gold – Colours of Prosperity
Green bamboo set amidst the familiar Chinese Blue and White pottery signify good luck!
Bright, cheery yellow Chysanthemums symbolise perfection, optimism, and joy!
The New Year is also an excellent time for my family members and friends to gather and catch up with one another. Since all of us stay in different HDB neighbourhoods, we look forward to the occasion where we can visit each other. This gives us a reason to check out the festive décor and furniture in each other’s HDB flat too.
So, being good hosts that we are, we’re usually up bright and early. We begin preparing the food for the day’s guests at 7am! Fishes, vegetables, chicken, prawns… name it and we probably have it. Nothing beats a delicious home cooked meal in the company of my family and close relatives! Then we’ll all sit back and enjoy the day, chatting and munching on New Year goodies.
A thousand and one Jellies, wrapped in every bright colour, to sweeten the new year!
Later in the day, I also expect some close friends to arrive at my flat for our annual gathering. It’s a tradition for us to contribute different food items for a delightful steamboat feast, followed by a marathon movie session. What a great way to kick back and enjoy the holidays!
Chinese New Year is a yearly affair, but have you ever wondered what some of the customs and traditions are?
1) Before the first day of New Year, families will spring-clean their houses thoroughly to signify the sweeping away of bad luck from the previous year and clearing the way for good luck in the coming year. Red is a common colour for doing up the home after that.
2) On Chinese New Year eve, all members of the family will sit together for reunion dinner, traditionally known as ‘团圆饭’ or ‘Tuan Yuan Fan’. Wherever they are, all family members will try their best to make it home for this meal. This very important meal only begins when everyone is present. Food such as fishes and dumplings will be served for good luck in the coming year.
3) Families will stay up on the eve and switch on all the lights in their homes till midnight, to start the countdown into the New Year.
4) Some families will open their doors and windows to signify the welcome of good fortune.
5) Kids and singles will receive red packets from their seniors. Remember though that it’s considered rude to open the packets in front of the people who have given them.
$$$ 🙂 (New Funds)
6) Always prepare some festive greetings when you go for Chinese New Year visitations.
7) It’s a common practice to bring mandarin oranges and dress in shades of red for visitations. Best to avoid gloomy shades of grey. After all, everyone wants to look their radiant best!
Swanky New Look!
8) Traditionally, Chinese New Year is celebrated over days and so you’ll probably hear lots of festive greetings and laughter in your own HDB block and estate, plus the occasional lion dance. When you meet your neighbours, why not offer a greeting? You may just receive a red packet for being so nice!
Here’s wishing everyone a prosperous and delightful start to the Year of the Snake!
By Phyllis Tan
Feb 10, 2013