The most important festival of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The festivities last for 15 days and is usually between January and February. Reunion dinners, ang pows, dragon dancing, gambling with relatives and home visiting are all part of the traditions! Chinatown usually comes alive with vivid performances and decorations, not to mention all sorts of yummy titbits suddenly become all the rage.
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Flash! Bang! FIzzle.
This year I waited for over an hour to watch the opening of Chinese New Celebrations. What a waste of time! It was supposed to be the turning on of the lights that would shine throughout the celebrations for the Year of the Snake. The celebrations this year were supposed to be centered on "spring of happiness." I was keen to see how the hundreds of square lanterns strung up in the form of a snake over Eu Tong Seng and North Bridge Road wuld look when the switch was turned.
Unlit they were less that inspiring. Maybe the fact that 2012 was slightly less luminous financially that 2011 meant that they had cut back on expenditure.
So we waited, and waited. Then we kept waiting. Finally, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam flipped the switch.
There, I said it:
Singers, dancers and acrobats from Singapore as well as Malaysia and China gave performances on a stage in the open space on Eu Tong Sen Street on Sunday evening. The Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam flipped the switch.
I looked at my friends. That’s it? What about the lion dancers and the masked performers? Where were they? Performing in front of the stage of dignitaries. What about the thousands waiting in the drizzle to watch a procession?
Along with the impact of the light up and the 37 fireworks that went of with a pop and a fizzle, that was it.
It wasn’t till a couple of weeks later that I finally saw a fireworks display for the evening of Chinese New Year that I saw something that thrilled me.
This time we were not sheltering under an umbrella in the drizzle in Chinatown. We were, quite b accident, at the Marina Bay area around midnight, when a barge anchored in the centre of the marina bay, a magnificent fireworks display erupted, and it was truly wow!
It also finally made me realize that the MBS monstrosity has a real function: its three glass sheathed towers provided a perfect mirror magnifying the fantastic colours of the fireworks. At least, I see reason in the design of the towers.
As for the New Year Celebrations, they add colour. There are several places you can go to where you can enjoy spectacle: the light switching on ceremony is not one of them.
RED RED RED
Chinese New Year is all about being RED. This is the word to describe this joyous festival. I always love celebrating Chinese New Year. It's the day where married adults distribute money and children receive money! This also explains why I'm always so excited for the arrival of Chinese New Year.
Besides that, you get to enjoy yummy goodies. I also simply love the titbits and crackers displayed on my relative's dinning/coffee tables. They are just so addictive! You can't stop eating the moment you lay a piece of pineapple tart on your tongue. But beware, I often suffered from sore throat after enjoying all these yummy food. They are nice and irresistible, however they can make you suffer in pain too.
Halloween-- Chinese Version~
Recalling the numerous dos and don’ts when I was younger was a torture, there are always things that you cannot do because the adults say so. But the payback is good with the good packets and also the only time of the year where you’re guaranteed that you wouldn’t be scolded. It was like Halloween—at least to me. I remembered pulling all the tricks and enjoying the goodies and soft drinks, did I mention that the pineapple tarts are not to be missed?
Stuffing myself with them was such a blessing, and there was no worries about the calories intake—it was a matter of “eat-first, talk-later” sort of thing, I supposed I could adopt that philosophy—at least during Chinese New Year.
'Bak Gua' and 'Yu Sheng'!
For any weight gained during January and February, I blame it on Chinese New Year (CNY). 'Bak Gua' - meaning 'dried pork' - is a must-eat for locals and a must-try for all tourists! Glistening with oily goodness at the surface and coated with generous amount of honey, Bak Gua tempts even the obssessed weight-conscious. It is not surprising to grow a muffin top within the CNY week!
CNY is only complete with Yu Sheng, a dish that is similar to western salad, which my family and I would use chopsticks to raise the ingredients high up in the air while speaking out loud with gusto auspicious words and phrases, a practice that symbolises good luck for the whole family for the rest of the year. The adults would always go, "HUAT AH! Strike TOTO! Strike 4D!"
Go to cow car water!
Cow car water, is the direct translation from chinese 牛车水, a place where comes abuzz as the chinese new year arrives. This is the time where families get together, have a hearty meal together and catch up,
This festival is celebrated by the Chinese, where this marks the start of the year and new beginnings for them. They celebrate it by giving away red packets to the younger ones. I bet all kids are just waiting to receive their "yearly pay check!"
i always love this festival most. This is the time of fun, joy and laughter, a time to feast all we can on the festive goodies. The diet can wait for now.
Let's all rejoice, cause the new year's coming not too long later. I can't wait!
A chinese tradition
Chinese New Year is a holiday for all the Chinese citizens in Singapore, and the rest of the races get to enjoy a couple of days off as well.
Being Chinese, the first day of CNY is always a big fuss. Having to get a haircut a few days beforehand, dressing up in spanking new clothes, helping my mum pack the red packets, before heading off to my elder uncle's house for visits. I like it. Not only do I get to eat good food and receive money, I also (sadly) get to see my relatives, whom I normally see once a year only.
Though our nation is growing more modern by the day, I truly hope that all these traditional festivals remain. Singapore will never be the same without Chinese New Year, Deepavali, or Hari Raya Haji.
The Best Food
The atmosphere of Chinese New Year in Singapore may be different for everyone, because there isn’t a strict custom that everyone follows. Apart from the typical cleaning up of the house, different families may have different practices that they carry out during the New Year Period.
For my family, it is visiting of relatives, eating awesome food and staying up on New Year ’s Eve. Staying up on New Year ’s Eve is believed to make your parents live longer and may be just a superstition, but my family does it anyway! Because I am not very close to my relatives, visiting is not so enjoyable for me, and I only look forward to the food that I get to eat.
Apart from individual family customs, the true atmosphere of Chinese New Year can be felt with a visit to Chinatown during this period. Crowds of people will be there squeezing through the narrow walkways, where rows and rows of shops selling a myriad candies, fruits, tarts and other Chinese New Year goodies line the street. It may be uncomfortable having to squeeze with so many people, but it is quite an experience to have at least once in your life!
Favourite time of the year
This is the season of money.
I love Chinese New Year for everything. The new clothes, the good food, the shameless stuffing of my face at a relative's, the red decoration everywhere, the money. I love abusing my poor food-addled brain to remember which relative gave me which red packet so I can report the amount into my excel sheets. I kid. But I really do try to remember so my mum can return the monetary favour.
Chinese new year is Singapore's happiest. Everyone will be laughing and taking shaky photos and making bad jokes and promising to meet up more often. Everyone feels prosperous and it's a wonderful time to quickly get into good books if you have been guilty of anything wrong.
It will be the season of gambling too so keep your fingers crossed and bring your lucky charm everywhere. I have learnt my lucky charm is my bolster and it is tragic I cannot lunge it around without risking looking like an over-sized toddler.
Please shrink dear bolster.
Time to get fat.
I look forward to Chinese New Year every year because of the following reasons:
Public Holiday - Being a polytechnic student, I look forward to breaks and holidays more than ever, because I feel it is never enough, but that's probably just me. The great thing about CNY is that it usually gives us more than just a day of holiday. The only ridiculous thing is when we have to do assignments during the break, what nonsense man, seriously!
Ang Pows - Ahahaha, which unmarried person dares to say they do not look forward to CNY because of the ang pow?! In fact, some people probably think that it's the only reason to look forward to this occasion, but not me, okay! Of course, the more relatives you have, the more money you get to anticipate receiving! Alas, I don't have that benefit, but still, despite how much you get, it's always a joyous feeling to receive ang pows from relatives!
FOOD - Probably as *important* as ang pows, HAHA! Seriously, I love going to people's houses and being welcomed to eat as much as I want from the different containers. I like to open various containers and surprise myself with the different delicious snacks at different people's houses. Unless you are on a (sad, sad, sad) diet, most people would also love CNY because of the food they are going to eat.
Gathering - Now that I am older, so are my cousins. We hardly have time to see each other nowadays, and so CNY is one of those few occasions whereby I get to meet them once again! However, sometimes it can feel really awkward when you meet relatives you are not close to, heh. Let's not forget about one of the highlights of every CNY: LOU HEI! It's so fun to grab a pair of chopsticks and toss the food around and blurt out 'cheng yu' related to good luck and wealth, etc.
Cards, Mahjong - Alright, I do not want to use the word 'gamble' because it sounds wrong. Besides, considering we are all under 20, we hardly bet beyond $2, unless we are feeling THAT lucky. Only the adults will be daring enough to throw in $10 at a go. But I love playing cards like Blackjack and even non-gambling card games like Taiti. Mahjong is more of a MUST every CNY. Love mahjong. 'Nuff said.
To sum off, CNY is always a time to look forward to every year for so many reasons. Will continue to look forward to CNY, hopefully even after I am married, haha!
Not for all.
Chinese New Year is not a favourite of mine. Yes, it is a Chinese tradition for Chinese, and it is a time where everybody comes together to celebrate and enjoy great titbits like bak kwa, pineapple tarts, yusheng and steamboat and of ang baos and mandarin oranges.
But for families who are broken up and those who have feuds with each other, it is not the best day. Imagine one who has a feud with another, maybe related to money issues, and you are absolutely pissed off with that family member and yet you have to force yourself to go cause it is a reunion dinner after all. If that is the case, seriously, then what is the point of having a reunion dinner.
Or for those who are alone by themselves, what is chinese new year to them as they spend their time alone, eating nothing like steamboat. Especially those elderly in old folks' home. They may have other old folks with them, but what they want is their family.
I may be having a complete family and i can enjoy it as much as i can, but i have met people like the above and wonder how they feel everything it is chinese new year.