EXPATS GUIDE TO CHINESE NEW YEAR CNY – 2017

CNY Rooster

Chinese New Year (CNY) symbolises the beginning of spring, as per Chinese Lunar calendar. An animal represents each year as per Chinese zodiac. There is a total of 12 animals – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig, respectively. This year is celebrated as the year of Rooster.

CNY Rooster

 

 

Chinese celebrates CNY all over the world irrespective of their religion or dialect. However, each ethnic group can have their own customs and traditions. Here are some interesting facts, myths, and traditions to know about CNY.

How is CNY celebrated?

CNY is all about family time. Authentically, only the family members are invited to the reuniondinner on CNY’s eve. The next two days are spent in visiting extended family members or inviting relatives and exchanging gifts.

What to gift on CNY?

If you are invited by your Chinese friends for dinner, try to gift the items in even numbers. As in Chinese Culture, even number signifies happy occasions, while odd represents unhappy occasions. Traditionally, fruits like oranges, tangerines and kumquats are appreciated because of their warm colour. Plants can also be a gifting option, but that has to be chosen correctly. Cactuses are a big no-no, while flowering plants like peach, sunflower, chrysanthemum are welcomed!

cny gift

Another gifting ideas can consist of traditional Chinese food items like bak kwa, prawn cracker roll, pineapple tarts, peanut cookies. And don’t forget to wish them “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (if you are in Singapore, M andarin) or “Kung Hei Fat Choi” (if you are in Hong Kong, Cantonese)

What to wear?

Red is far most the favourite colour of the season. Other colours like orange, yellow can be worn. Colours like black and brown should not be worn as they symbolise death.

cny clothes

What is “Ang Bao” or “Lai See”?

Ang Bao is the red envelope that contains money, generally h anded to children by their parents, gr andparents, or relatives. If you are married, then it is customary to give Ang Bao. But if you are single then you are not expected to give Ang Bao.

The money given is generally in the denominations of 8, as it is an auspicious number in Chinese culture. While number 4 is completely avoided as it is considered an extremely bad luck.

cny hongbao

“Lai See” is the Cantonese term of “Ang Bao” in Hong Kong. Similarly, like “Ang Bao” married couple are expected to give. Managers give “Lai See” to the employees. If you are living in an apartment, then it is encouraged to give “Lai See” to the security guard, door man or cleaners.

Depending upon the closeness with the person the amount of “Lai See” is decided.

Generally, SGD$20 “Lai See” is acceptable to give to the doorman, security guard or cleaners. For young kids, below 10 years old, SGD$10 is a good amount. Ang Bao

Tips: Always prefer crisp bank notes to give “Ang Bao” or “Lai See”. And avoid coins.

 

What to eat during CNY?

Apart from eating oranges, pineapples, and steamboat dishes, “Yusheng” is the most significant dish consumed during CNY. It is a raw fish salad serves as an appetiser. On the 7th day of CNY, family members gather around the table and start tossing the “Yusheng” while st anding and exclaiming prosperous wishes. Higher the salad is tossed higher will be the chances of prosperity in the coming year.

cny food

Do and Don’t Chinese follow during CNY!

The doors and windows are open at the midnight which means the old year to go and the new year to come. It is highly encouraged to begin your meal with eating something sweet as it symbolises a good start of the new year.

During CNY holidays sweeping and cleaning of the house is strictly forbidden as it is believed that the trash will take away the good luck and money. Borrowing money is avoided during CNY, as it is believed that throughout the year you will have money trouble. Porridge is termed as “poor man’s breakfast”, so consuming porridge during CNY is considered as a bad luck for the coming year.

 

Events to attend during CNY!

Singapore

Expats living in Singapore can have a gala time during CNY, as there are numerous events lined up during this season. One can visit Chinatown area and can witness the stupendous decorations and performances by local and international artists. On the 11th day of CNY, one can witness the Chingay Parade, that highlights artist performing fireworks and astonishing floats during the parade.

Gardens by the Bay, have put on display in the Flower dome- dahlias and begonias in the auspicious shades of red and yellow. Not only this, one of the largest LED Phoenix will make its debut appearance in Singapore at Gardens by the Bay.

Esplanades theatre is geared up for Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts. The famous Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s dream” (Chinese Adaptation) will be performed here. One can groove to the beats of Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin. Special play for kids will also be the highlight of “Huayi”. There will be plenty of music, dance, visual arts, and workshops lined up at the theatre.

Keeping in mind the festivities around CNY, the malls will remain open a little longer than the usual timings.

 

Hong Kong

CNY celebration in Hong Kong is one of the most spectacular celebration one can witness. Hong Kong’s fireworks over Victoria Harbor is one of the best firework display of the world. This breath-taking show lasts for approximately 23minutes. The best place to catch this show is from Tsim Sha Tsui side with Victoria Peak and Central Skyline in the background.

hongkong marching b and

All over Hong Kong the streets are decorated with Chinese traditional decorations. The festivities consist of music show by local and international artists. Also, there are food festivals to look forward to.

 

Hong Kong’s CNY festivities is incomplete without mentioning the parade that has lively dragons, marching b ands, acrobats, traditional Chinese dancers, and international troupes from all over the world.

Traveling Tip

Expats living in Singapore and Hong Kong have several avenues to immerse into the culture and experience Chinese New Year. However, many of us sometimes take advantage of the long holiday season. And plan family trips around South East Asia. During this time of the year the beaches of South East Asia offers best time for water activities. But travelling to China during CNY should be avoided at all cost. As workers go back to their family during CNY, so there is always a mad rush at the airports and train stations.

cny rooster

So wherever you are celebration the auspicious new year, put on your best red dress and revel in the festivities.

Here’s wishing  Gong Xi Fa Cai to my friends in Singapore!

And Kung Hey Fat Cho to my friends in Hong Kong!

 

Author Bio:

Author Gauri

Gaurangi Verma  is a freelance Content Writer residing in Singapore with her husb and. She is an avid reader and a Netflix junkie. Originally from Dehradun, India, she misses the cool and breezy mornings of her home-town.

 

 

10 WEIRDEST NEW YEAR TRADITIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Each year people celebrate the arrival of New Year in their own unique traditions. Whilst many of us celebrate by drinking champagne, dancing, and kissing our loved ones when the clock strikes midnight. Some cultures around the world have peculiar and almost weird ways of celebrating it. On this occasion let’s look at a few of these traditions:

1. Japanese Traditions: Ring bells 108 times

On the eve of New Year, Buddhist temples in Japan ring their bells 108 times to welcome the New Year’s God, “Toshigami”, as it is believed that this will bring good luck and cleanness to them.

traditions in Japan

2. Philippines Traditions: Round shape represents wealth & prosperity

In Philippines people believe in money so much that they wear and eat things that represent round shape i.e. coins. So, they wear polka dots clothing during this time. Eat round fruits like grapes, oranges, watermelon, etc.. They prepare 12 round fruits, one for each month of the coming New Year to bring wealth and prosperity.

traditions in Philippines

3. Chinese Traditions: Red is the auspicious colour

In countries like Singapore, China & Hong Kong  the New Year is celebrated not on 1st January, but they celebrate on the 1st day of Chinese Lunar calendar. On this day, they only wear red colour clothes (including underwear!) and burn fire crackers as they believe that this will drive the evil away. Also fruits like pineapple and orange are associated with good luck and prosperity so one can find these fruits as gifts and in decorative items.

traditions in singapore china

4. Greek Traditions: Hanging bunch of onions

In  Greece  people hang bunch of onions, or “kremmida” on their door on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of rebirth in the coming year. Then, the following morning, parents traditionally tap their children on their head with the onion to wake them up before church.

traditions in Greece

5. Danish Traditions: Shattering dishes assures more friends

In Denmark   people specially prepare a dessert known as “Kransekage” and eat it with their loved ones. Also, they save all their unused dishes and plates until the 31st of December and then they shatter them against the doors. Assuring that they will have many friends in the coming year. In addition to this people climb on top of chairs and literally “jump” into the New Year to bring good luck.

traditions in Denmark

6. Spanish Traditions: Eating 12 grapes is the key to good luck

In Spain  it is auspicious to eat 12 grapes at each strike of the clock while making a wish. These are supposed to bring good luck to the person. It says when in 1895 vine farmers had a surplus of grapes they started the tradition to get more customers.

Traditions in Spain

7. Irish Traditions: Kiss under the Mistletoe

In Irel and  single women places a sprig of mistletoe under their pillows on New Year’s night hoping for a good luck and a future husb and. It is believed that after 31st — if the visitor is a tall, darkly h andsome man, he will bring fortune to you but if it is a red-headed woman, then it is a sign of trouble! Also, Irish people hit the walls with bread to get rid of evil spirits.

Traditions in Irel and

8. Argentinian Traditions: Carry suitcase for more travel

In Argentina , people eat beans before the clock strikes midnight to bring good luck for their career. They also carry a suitcase around the house in hope for more travel in the year to come.

Traditions in Argentina

9. Ecuadorian Traditions: Burn dummies 

In Ecuador  people burn thous ands of life-size dummies representing their misfortunes from the past year. These effigies are made from newspapers and pieces of wood. At midnight, everyone gathers outside their homes to burn the dummies together.

Traditions in Equador

10. Belarusian Traditions: Rooster picking corn

Single ladies in Belarus, play a game on NYE where a pile of corn is placed in front of them. A rooster is released to see which pile he picks the corn from. And that girl from he does, is the first one to get married next year. As they say, if a rooster has chosen you, so will an sensible man!

Belarus Traditions

The world is full of various unique traditions, believes and superstitions. Every year we pray in our own way for health, wealth, and prosperity in the coming year. On that note, wishing you a Happy New Year !!

Want to fly for FREE to any of these destinations??? 

Source: http://www.businessinsider.sg/new-years-rituals-around-the-world-2013-12/?r=US&IR=T#Uurt7FpUw0cME4aU.97

http://list25.com/25-strangest-new-years-traditions-from-around-the-world/

 

Author Bio:

Author Gauri

 

Gaurangi Verma  is a freelance Content Writer residing in Singapore with her husb and. She is an avid reader and a Netflix junkie. Originally from Dehradun, India, she misses the cool and breezy mornings of her home-town.