Treats, taboos and traditions: Here’s everything you need to know about celebrating CNY in Singapore, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned local.
If you didn’t already know, Chinese New Year is a pretty big deal here in Singapore. Lights and decor get ramped up in Chinatown, every shopping mall declares some sort of mega sale, and there’s a mad rush to get festive treats like bak kwa, pineapple tarts, and abalone as if there’s some sort of national food shortage. If your CNY prep is getting a little overwhelming, or you need a cheat sheet to survive the celebrations, read on…
First, get clued up on the rules…
This is one auspicious time of the year and you don’t want to tempt fate by committing a CNY faux pas. Can you wash your hair? Can you sweep the house? For real: You need to get acquainted with these Chinese New Year dos, don’ts and superstitions. We unravelled ang pao etiquette for you too. You’re welcome.
Don’t mess up the lo hei
Nobody wants to look like a total newb during this Chinese New Year tradition. And FYI: Yusheng is the dish, lo hei is the act of tossing the dish. Watch this video that decodes the lo hei prosperity toss and you’ll be looking like a pro in no time. Rivers of gold!
P.S. Thinking of trying something out of the ordinary this year? We’ve got you covered with our lowdown on the most unusual yusheng platters this Year of the Rat.
Huat’s up for Chinese New Year?
You’ve gotta celebrate the Lunar New Year with a bang! The easiest way to get into the festive mood? Tick off all the CNY parties, light-ups and lion dances on your list. Highlights include the annual glitzy Chingay Parade, the Chinatown street festivities, gorgeous CNY-themed blooms at Gardens by the Bay, lanterns and fireworks at River Hongbao, and loads more.
Prepare to stuff yourself with glorious food
A lot of this celebration revolves around food – but we’re not complaining. It’s countless rounds of epic Chinese New Year meals, pineapple tarts, bak kwa and even non-traditional snacks on repeat. But if every restaurant on your list is fully booked for reunion dinner (or even dim sum), we’ve got your back with our recommendations on eateries that stay open during the long weekend.
These are not your average cheongsams…
Consider this a licence to shop. Traditionally, new threads symbolise a new start, but with all those family reunions and CNY parties, of course you need to look your best! Bright colours are an obvious choice, but if you’re going for a bolder look this season, try on a modern cheongsam or sashay into your relatives’ homes donning batik patterns and botanical prints that are anything but red. Oh, and don’t forget to keep your makeup on fleek with limited edition beauty goodies for the Year of the Rat.
Doing a major declutter at home? Pass on your pre-loved stuff responsibly; don’t just throw it out if it’s in good condition because someone else could give it a second life. Here’s where to donate your gently used clothes, furniture and more to charities in Singapore.
If you need a break from all that celebrating…
Need a breather after stuffing yourself silly at all those reunion dinners? Hit the couch and indulge in a movie marathon with our fave film picks for Chinese New Year – yeah, we’ll admit, we occasionally use this as an excuse to avoid more awkward conversations with the extended fam!