Treats, taboos and traditions: here’s your survival guide to celebrating the lunar new year in Singapore, whether you’re a CNY 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 you go to declares some sort of mega sale, and there’s a mad rush to get CNY treats like bak kwa, pineapple tarts, and abalone as if there’s a national food shortage. If your CNY prep is getting a little overwhelming, or you need a cheat sheet for surviving the celebrations, read on…
But 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 also 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: yu sheng is the dish, lo hei is the act of tossing the dish. Watch this video that decodes the lo hei prosperity toss and look like a pro. Rivers of gold!
Huat’s up for Chinese New Year?
You’ve gotta celebrate the lunar new year with a bang! Tick off all the CNY parties, lightups and lion dances off your list here…
Out with the old!
There’s no denying that we could all use a helping hand from Lady Luck this Lunar New Year, which is why we pulled out some feng shui tips for redecorating your home. And of course we couldn’t help but pick out some gorgeous (and purely fun) CNY-appropriate decor we’ll want on display all year round. Doing a major declutter at home? Pass it on responsibly; don’t just throw it out if it’s in good condition and someone could give it a second life. Here’s where to donate your gently used clothes, furniture and more to charities in Singapore.
Prepare to stuff yourself with glorious (and auspicious) food
A lot of this celebration revolves around food. It’s countless of epic Chinese New Year meals, pineapple tarts, bak kwa on repeat. But if every restaurant on the list is fully booked for Reunion Dinner, we’ve got your back with our recommended Chinese restaurants and Peranakan restaurants. If modern Chinese cuisine is your thing, or you just want to head to a wholesome dim sum joint for a Gong Xi yum cha, we’ve got all the guides to the good stuff.
Not your average cheongsams…
Consider this 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 the done thing, but be bold and try out these modern cheongsams: we found CNY-inspired looks we want to wear all year. Peranakans who want to rock batik fashion, we found the goods. And if you’re more about street style, check out how we styled Aldo’s CNY sneakers and accessories in this video…
And if you need a break from all that celebrating…
Need a breather after all those reunions and stuffing yourself silly? Hit the couch and indulge in a movie marathon. We shared our fave film picks for Chinese New Year – yeah we’re using this as an excuse to avoid awkward conversations with the extended fam!
Like this story? Check these out:
A rookie’s guide to yu sheng plus a step-by-step video
We found cheongsams and qipaos we want to wear all year round
All about the red packet: ang pao etiquette for CNY rookies
Do you know these CNY superstitions and traditions?