Get to know the traditions surrounding Chinese New Year.
As early as the 14th century B.C., people marked the second new moon of the year – a time to begin planting – with a massive festival. Since then, people have layered on Lunar or Chinese New Year traditions, most having to do with prosperity and “bringing in wealth” plus taboos that “ward off bad luck.”
In Singapore, orange tree topiaries flank businesses’ doors, lion dances erupt at all hours and the-messier-the-better reunion dinners are quite a sight. Use these dos and don’ts to navigate the season. Want to know everything there is to know about CNY traditions in SG? Read this!
Open all your windows and doors at the stroke of midnight to allow the old year to leave and the New Year to enter. Keep them open throughout the day to allow a new dose of luck to fill your home.
Ensure your first taste is something sweet so it’ll mark the good start to the year. Legitimate belief – not an excuse to have cake at midnight.
The seventh day of Chinese New Year, which falls on 18 February this year, is believed to be the day mankind was created, and is called “Everyone’s Birthday” (ren ri). Happy birthday to you, too!
That’s why spring cleaning is a thing before Chinese New Year: sweeping or cleaning the house during this holiday is believed to cast away your riches, as will taking out the trash.
It doesn’t bode well for the year, and it’s believed that anyone who does so will find themselves borrowing money all year round. Don’t lend money to anyone, either, you don’t want them laden in debt.
In the past, porridge was regarded as “poor people’s breakfast”, and this belief has lived on in the form of a New Year superstition until today – starting the year “poor” is seen as a bad omen.
By Pinky Chng, January 2017 / Updated January 2020 / Updated by Willaine G. Tan, January 2021.
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