Gong Xi Fa Cai – Chinese New Year Celebrations Part 1: Customs & Traditions

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to ahisgett

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to ahisgett

January is coming to an end – shopping malls are playing festive Chinese tunes, the color red is to be
seen everywhere, festivity is enveloping the whole island and we all know the reason … Chinese
New Year is soon to be here again!

Also known as the “Lunar New Year”, Chinese New Year is the most important of all traditional
Chinese holidays. It marks the start of the Chinese calendar, and lasts for 15 days. Chinese New Year
is celebrated by Chinese communities all around the world. Also known as “CNY” in Singapore, it
is observed by Singaporeans of the Chinese lineage. Dazzling lights, shops and stores packed with
festive treats, and the auspicious Chinese lion dances can be seen all over the city and Chinatown
is the best place to soak in the festivities with its busy restaurants, decorated streets and specialty
shops.

Generally, Chinese New Year falls on different dates between January 21st to February 20th every
year. This year, it falls on the 10th of February. (For those looking to visit Singapore during this time
to soak in the atmosphere and festivities, take note of the dates!)

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to Eric Benacek

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to Eric Benacek

The origin of how Chinese New Year celebrations came about is a centuries-old legend. There once
lived a terrible mythical lion-headed monster named 年 (nian), the Chinese word for “year”, who
preyed on villagers. As 年 was afraid of loud noises and the colour red, one wise old man advised the
villagers to scare it away by letting off firecrackers, hitting drums and hanging red paper cut-outs on
their doors. 年 was thus conquered, and on the anniversary of the day, Chinese celebrate the passing
of the 年 (过年 guo nian – synonymous with celebrating the New Year). And that is why one of the
traditional celebrations of Chinese New Year is the lion dance.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to Denise Chan

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to Denise Chan

The regional customs and traditions of celebrating Chinese New Year varies with different countries;
for Singaporeans, it’s traditional to do a spring-cleaning of the house to “sweep” away the old and
make way for the new. Homes are also adorned with Chinese New Year decorations such as pussy
willow and bamboo plants, poetic couplets, and traditional snacks like love letters and pineapple
tarts, and best of all (for the kids), the candy tray, are served.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to Calvin Teo

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, credit to Calvin Teo

People also shop for new clothes, especially those in bright cheery colours like red, to usher in the
festivities. Married people prepare “hong baos” (red packets containing money) which are given out
during Chinese New Year for good luck. And finally, there is the reunion dinner which takes place
on the eve, which is all about reuniting the family for an annual feast. On Chinese New Year itself,
families go around to each other’s’ houses for visiting, eating and catching up.

Frasers Hospitality

If you’re planning a trip to Singapore for Chinese New Year, or planning to treat yourself to a relaxing
staycation for the holidays, book a stay with us at Capri by Fraser!

Our hotel comes equipped with all the facilities you want, such as a 24 hour gym, swimming pool,
spa, spin & play rooms and more. Everything you need for a delightful stay!

One thought on “Gong Xi Fa Cai – Chinese New Year Celebrations Part 1: Customs & Traditions

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