Chinese New Year is celebrated yearly in Singapore generally in the month of January or February, depending on the lunar calendar. This year, in 2017, it’s celebrated on 28th January, Saturday. If you have recently shifted to Singapore, or planning a visit here during this period, you would want to read this.
“A LOT of shops will be closed”
Singapore is a food paradise. Due to Singapore’s rich immigrant history, you will actually get to taste a wide variety of cuisine (e.g. Indian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, European, Peranakan etc.) in Singapore. Often, the dishes from different ethnicity can influence each other, resulting in new and delicious dishes.
You can usually find these delicious food in hawker centers around Singapore, but if you arrive during the Chinese New Year period, you will be disappointed because a lot of these hawkers are small businesses and most of them do not open during this festive period.
They are one of the main things one will think of when it comes to Chinese New Year. Never visit someone’s house without mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year period. Mandarin oranges in Chinese sounds similar to the word ‘luck’ and “wealth”.
Therefore, the act of exchanging them signifies bringing luck to the recipients. You should always present them to the head of the household and they will then exchange these as a gesture of goodwill.
Red Packets for Chinese New Year
Many kids love the Chinese New Year as they will be receiving many red packets (affectionally known as “Ang Baos”) after saying some Chinese New Year greetings such “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (wishing one to be prosperous in the coming year).
The act of giving red packets symbolises good luck and putting money in the ang baos is to bring happiness. The ang baos are generally given by:
1. Married couples to their single friends or children
2. Parents to children
3. Grandparents to children
4. Bosses to subordinates
According to the Chinese traditions, the money in the red packets should be an even number and the number ‘four’ should not appear in the amount as the pronunciation of the word in Mandarin sounds similar to the word “death”. However, you should note that it’s rude to open the red packets in front of the givers and comment about the amount openly!
Basking in the Chinese New Year Celebrations
If you are looking to soak in the Chinese New Year festive mood, you definitely need to head down to Chinatown! You can get practically everything relating to Chinese New Year from food to decorations there! Do check out the lightings and decorations that have been put up specially for this occasion while you are busy shopping and eating!
While Singapore has long banned firecrackers, you can still experience it at the yearly during the countdown celebration at Chinatown.
However, do be prepared to squeeze through the massive crowds as some families and people would go there to grab cheap goodies after their reunion dinners.
If you have the time, you may even visit the River HongBao at Marina Bay to admire the festive lightnings and dazzling lantern displays!
All in all, if you are planning to come to Singapore for the Chinese New Year celebration, try to do so at the week before the actual day. If not, you might have to prepare yourself to miss out on a lot of the local delicacies and encounter quite a number of empty malls and shops!
We at Empire Global like to wish everyone a ‘Happy Chinese New Year!’ Huat Ah!!!