Now that everything has opened up in terms of safe-distancing measures and mask-wearing, we can expect a livelier and buzzing Chinese New Year in the coming year ahead. If you are planning to celebrate the most important event in the Chinese calendar, there are a few things you should do in order to soak in the festive mood and, at the same time, honour traditional deities and your family ancestors.
Aside from everyone having their own interpretations of how to take part in Chinese New Year, otherwise called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, the event can also be celebrated with different practices and customs in different parts of the world. However, we will only focus on the celebrations here in Singapore.
1. Refresh your home
Spring cleaning is generally the most important thing you should get done before Chinese New Year officially kicks in. As its name suggests, spring cleaning is about doing a deep cleaning of your home to usher in the Spring season, and this practice is widely implemented throughout Singapore due to its symbolism. In the Mandarin language, the word “dust” is a homophone for “Chen”, which means “old”. As such, by cleaning your home, you are getting rid of any misfortune or bad luck from the previous year, ensuring a brand new start for the future.
You can spring clean your home by throwing away any clutter, washing the windows, changing bed sheets, and washing air conditioner vents, to name a few.
2. Putting up red decorations
The colour red enjoys an auspicious reputation in Chinese culture. The colour represents happiness, fortune, and vitality - all of which are good signs that everyone wishes to be blessed with to start the year off right. In addition, red symbolises fertility, which is why you may see traditional Chinese brides wearing red gowns during their weddings.
By putting up red decorations around the house, you can ward off any evil spirits and negative energies that can subject you and your family to misfortune. Some popular decor pieces for Chinese New Year include hanging red lanterns, door couplets, and paper cuttings.
3. Worship ancestors
Filial piety is extremely paramount in Chinese culture, and this extends to worshipping family ancestors. A common belief is that the living have a duty to sustain and protect the spirits of their ancestors, and in return, the ancestors will bless them with prosperity, luck, and wealth. As such, before the customary reunion dinner is to take place, family members should honour their ancestors by offering joss sticks, joss paper, and even wine as a way of letting them eat first.
4. Attend a reunion dinner
Reunion dinner traditionally occurs on the eve of Chinese New Year and is a time when families gather together and catch up before officially taking part in the celebrations. This is why most people will tend to rush home just to be in time for reunion dinner, regardless of wherever they are.
Steamboat or hotpot is the dish of choice for reunion dinners as the steamboat pot, which is round in shape, symbolises “reunion” (團圓Tuányuán) in the Mandarin language. What’s more, a steamboat is easy to prepare and can be shared among a large group of people, fitting for an occasion in which several generations of family members are expected to sit and have a meal together.
5. Gift bird’s nest
Apart from giving out red packets, it is also a tradition to gift bird’s nests to family members, in-laws, and even close friends during Chinese New Year. This is because bird’s nest is commonly regarded as a premium delicacy and embodies good health and youthfulness. Considering that bird's nest was only consumed by Emperors and Royal Families back in ancient China, it can also be seen as a symbol of wealth and prestige.
If you have a family member or friend who is pregnant, bird’s nest makes for a wonderful gift due to its nutritional value and health benefits.
You can find the best bird nest in Singapore at Royal Bird’s Nest. Since 2011, we have been producing 100% genuine bird’s nests that are free of artificial colourings, dangerous chemicals, and preservatives. Shop from our range of high-quality bird’s nests here. For those wanting to find out more about our bird nest promotion or who have any enquiries, feel free to reach out to us.