Singapore Chinese New Year with a Difference

What’s Singapore Chinese New Year like?

Though Chinese New Year is not celebrated with a big bang in Singapore and the festive mood is not as pervasive and upbeat as twenty years ago, it remains as the most important festival for the Chinese community in Singapore. The first two days are still usually swamped with visiting of relatives and friends, exchanging of mandarin oranges, good wishes for the new year, giving of “angpows” (red packets with money enclosed), gathering for steamboat meals, feasting, partaking in “lao yu sang” (a salad comprising raw fish and vegetables), mah-jong sessions, sharing of biscuits, cakes, candies, and bah-kwa (sweet barbecued meat slices), and the kids having fun with hand-held crackling sparklers.

While the little ones have a ball of a time with the dazzling sparklers, the adults play mahjong (a Chinese game with noisy tiles) into the wee hours of the morning.

While the little ones have a ball of a time with the dazzling sparklers, the adults play mahjong (a Chinese game with noisy tiles) into the wee hours of the morning.

"Huat Kueh", the festive cake that symbolises prosperity and "Nian Gao", the steamed sticky cake are slowly fading out of Chinese families as the society modernises. These traditional Chinese festive goodies present great opportunities for foreigners to learn more about the Chinese culture.

“Huat Kueh”, the festive cake that symbolises prosperity and “Nian Gao”, the steamed sticky cake are slowly fading out of Chinese families as the society modernises. These traditional Chinese festive goodies present great opportunities for foreigners to learn more about the Chinese culture.

A pair of Mandarin oranges in the hands and many well wishing phrases on the lips nicely set the way for the young in collecting the highly anticipated, money-filled red pockets from the married adults during Chinese New Year.

A pair of Mandarin oranges in the hands and many well wishing phrases on the lips nicely set the way for the young in collecting the highly anticipated, money-filled red pockets from the married adults during Chinese New Year.

A montage made of a myriad of vibrant, colourful Ang Pows or red packets that are often decorated with gold Chinese characters such as prosperity and wealth, a good old Chinese tradition of blessing children with money.

A montage made of a myriad of vibrant, colourful Ang Pows or red packets that are often decorated with gold Chinese characters such as prosperity and wealth, a good old Chinese tradition of blessing children with money. In Mandarin, the red packet is known as Ya Sui Qian (压岁钱), which literally means money to suppress age. It is also often interpreted as warding off evil spirits and protecting against sickness and death.

 

 

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