Treats, taboos and traditions... Here’s everything you need to know about celebrating CNY in Singapore!
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 and pineapple tarts 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…
How to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore
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. You’re welcome. We’ve unravelled red packet rates and etiquette for you, too. Oh, but you’re encouraged to gift e-ang baos this year – that means no queueing at banks for new notes!
And since we’re still in the midst of the Covid battle, this year’s CNY regulations include a maximum of eight visitors per day for every household. Visitors should also try to stop by just two households each day to stop the spread. Psst: don’t forget your mask and TraceTogether token or app as well.
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. Want to try something out of the ordinary? We’ve got you covered with the most unusual yusheng platters this Year of the Ox. Just remember that you have to keep your face masks on while tossing yusheng in a restaurant and lo hei should be done without shouting out the usual auspicious phrases.
Huat’s up for Chinese New Year?
You’ve gotta celebrate Lunar New Year with a bang! The easiest way to get into the festive mood? Tick off all the CNY events and light-ups on your list. Highlights include the Chinatown street light-up, Chingay Parade (which you can watch online), Dahlia Dreams at Gardens by the Bay and fun activities at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.
Stuff yourself with glorious food
Like everything else in life, a big part of this festival revolves around food – but we’re not complaining. It’s countless rounds of epic Chinese New Year reunion dinners, pineapple tarts, bak kwa and even unique CNY snacks on repeat in Singapore. 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 gatherings, 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 oriental inspired looks, CNY-appropriate street style, batik patterns and other festive attire to celebrate the season. Oh, and don’t forget to keep your makeup on fleek with limited edition beauty goodies for the Year of the Ox.
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 can 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 and avoiding small talk with distant relatives? Hit the couch and indulge in a movie marathon with our fave film picks for Chinese New Year. (We’ll admit, we occasionally use this as an excuse to avoid more awkward conversations with the extended fam.)
That’s everything you need to know about celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore. Gong xi fa cai!