You know the Chinese New Year or, otherwise known as the Spring Festival, is finally near when you start noticing a joyous red aura unfurling. People around the globe will celebrate the Chinese New Year on 1st February 2022. According to Chinese legends, every year is dedicated to one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs- this year is the year of Tiger.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What is the Chinese New Year?
- Interesting customs of the Chinese New Year
- How can you celebrate the Chinese New Year in Singapore?
- Gift Ideas for the Spring festival
1. What is the Chinese New Year?
Marking the arrival of a new year, the Chinese New Year has many names according to different cultures like the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. As per the lunisolar calendar system, the beginning of the Chinese new year can fall anywhere between January and February.
Unlike the gregorian New Year, the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is not a celebration for a single day. Instead, this celebration lasts for about two weeks. The end of the celebration is marked by a luminous Lantern festival, which will be on 15 February this year.
As an ode to the familial bond, the Chinese New Year’s eve is an affair of family reunions. It is a day where families eat traditional food together and celebrate the solidarity of the family. This phenomenon is known as ‘tuanyuan’ in Chinese.
Speaking of family reunion, here’s a fun fact about this festival: The Spring Festival is famous to initiate the world’s largest migration every year as millions of people travel back home to celebrate this festival with their families.
Read Also : Chinese New Year Flowers
2. Interesting customs of the Chinese New Year
Before enjoying the gifts and delicious food prepared for the celebration, it is customary to deep-clean the houses at least a month before the new year. The idea behind this is to avoid sweeping the house on New Year as it might sweep away all the good luck out of the house.
The festival also has something to say about financial matters. It is normally frowned upon to start the new year with outstanding debts. For this reason, there is a provision of three days in the new year celebrations to settle all the unpaid debts.
This celebration is a delight, especially for young kids. Elders usually gift some money in red packets to the children on the first day of the new year. However, in return, children have to stay awake for long as possible on the night of new year’s eve. This custom is believed to attract the longevity of the children’s and their family’s lives.
Another interesting custom is related to hair. The Chinese consider hair cuts on the day of a new year to attract bad luck, as a result, people flock to get their hair cut before the arrival of a new year.
Worshipping their ancestors is also a common practice among the Chinese people, especially on the occasion of the New Year’s feast. It is customary to invite the deceased ancestors to the family feast and offer special food prepared as an offering to the ancestors.
3. How can you celebrate the Chinese New Year?
Singapore is known for celebrating the Chinese New Year with great enthusiasm. This is a season where you can spot locals in colorful festive wear while munching on new year delights like pineapple tarts and ‘bak kwa’ (a crowd favorite). In fact, ‘bak kwa’ is one of the most popular gifting options, you can easily find them in most gift baskets and hampers curated for the Spring festival.
Although Covid-19 restrictions have slightly dampened the celebrations, you can still enjoy some special events to celebrate this festival.
- Street light show
Festivals are always synonymous with lights and brightness all around. Singapore boasts one of the most stunning street light shows arranged in the heart of Chinatown. New Bridge Road and South Bridge Road will be illuminated with tiger-themed lanterns, lights, and sculptures from 7th January to 2nd March. And if you don’t want to step out of your house, you can catch the light show live-streamed on the Facebook page of Chinatown Festivals.
- Flower showcase at Gardens by the Bay
This year’s showcase in the Flower Dome is going to be extra special to mark the 10th anniversary of Gardens by the Bay. You can expect everything from giant displays of sculptures like tiger cubs, couplets, and lanterns to an alluring showcase of Dahlias, Chrysanthemums, and various other exotic flowers.
You can enjoy this brilliant new year display from 14th January to 20th February in the Flower Dome.
- Chingay parade
This year’s iconic Chingay parade has shifted online. Interestingly, this year also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Chingay parade and follows the theme ‘ignite your dreams’.
To mark this special occasion, people associated with the Chingay parade over the years will relive the past parades and share their stories on a live show. Be sure to catch the live show online at 8 pm on 12th February 2022.
- Enjoy the Yusheng dish
Annual lo hei or the tossing ritual is one of the most fun customs during the spring festival. Restaurants around the country have implemented their creative streaks to come up with tiger-themed variations of the yusheng dish- a festive salad.
Enjoy this dish in restaurants like the Jade, where the dish is prepared with fresh salmon and lush ingredients like champagne jelly and shallot oil. On the other hand, Tablescape is presenting a modern version of the dish, switching the salmon with octopus and lobster. The Xin Cuisine Chinese restaurant has five variations of yushengs ranging from pineapple yusheng, crusted tuna yusheng to even a vegetarian yusheng option.
4. Gift Ideas for the Spring Festival
Gifting is an endearing part of the new year celebrations, especially when you are away from your family. In a situation where large family reunions can be difficult, gifts can make up for your absence to a certain extent.
Gifts and decoratives in the Chinese New Year are known to have some hidden meanings behind them. Legend has it that it was a beast named ‘nian’ who wreaked havoc in the village and ate up all the crops. The villagers soon figured out that red color, loud noises, and fire were some of the weaknesses of the beast. As a result, these features hold value in the gifts and celebration customs of the spring festival.
Mandarin oranges are one of the most traditional gift items that are exchanged fondly among friends and family. You can check out this traditional mandarin orange gift hamper set from Flower advisor that signifies wealth and prosperity.
A wholesome package is another great option to gift to your close ones. This assorted hamper is full of traditional and auspicious food items like red dates, Chinese tea, and shrimp rolls.
This package with rich Chevalier XO brandy 35cl, as well as traditional abalones and chicken broth will surely impress your family and friends.