1. Wearing red
Word has it that the colour red frightened the Nian, which is a creature that appears during spring time to attack the villagers. Red also symbolises good fortune. People will wear red underwear as well to bring good luck, especially at the gambling table. While black represents death, it is good to note to avoid wearing dark or gloomy colours when visiting during CNY.
2. Sweeping the floor
People believe that sweeping the floor during CNY is akin to sweeping good fortune away.
3. Keeping the door open
At an auspicious time, the God of Fortune visits. The auspicious time is usually checked against the Chinese almanac. Keeping the door open welcomes him in. (But please remember to close it when you go to bed. :p)
4. Making sure the rice bucket is full
The Chinese believe that filling up the rice bucket at home ensures that there is abundance in food/provision for the family in the new year. In Singapore, people queue up at the cash deposit machines to deposit money into their bank accounts for the same belief a day before the first day of the lunar new year. Car owners would also head to the petrol kiosks to get a full tank of gas.
5. Saying only positive things
It is inauspicious to say negative things during the lunar new year. When people meet, they great each other with positive phrases, usually 4-character idioms. These cover areas including happiness, health, finances, career and studies – basically everything that you need to go well in life. 🙂
6. Spring cleaning
The Chinese in Singapore take time to pack the house and throw out items to welcome the new year (and also, for a clean home to welcome guests to. . :p) Some would purchase new furniture or appliances as well.
7. CNY home decor
Usually paper cutouts with auspicious sayings would be hung up on the walls or doors at home. Some would have couplets with Chinese writings on them pasted at the doorposts. Many decorative items carrying the zodiac sign for the new year would be on sale too – 2017’s the year of the rooster, hence cockadoodle doo everywhere. These items are red in colour as well – as in #1, to chase away the evil Nian.
8. Reunion dinner
Reunion dinner is typically held on Chinese New Year’s eve, but in Singapore, families usually gather some time before the eve as and when it is convenient for everyone to gather. Most Singaporeans living abroad would take time off to return to Singapore as well to celebrate CNY with their friends and family – hence a reunion! Click here to watch what a reunion meal in Singapore is like.
9. Lo Hei (Yu Sheng)
Tossing of the Yu Sheng (Lo Hei) is a Singapore tradition. A mix of raw shredded vegetables and fruit in different colours, crackers and a serving of raw salmon is neatly arranged on a humongous plate, and then drizzled with honey and pepper. A group of people gather round the plate with a pair of chopsticks and stretch out their arms to toss the Yu Sheng in the air. Auspicious sayings are yelled out as this is done. Click here to watch what Lo Hei is all about.
Dos and Don’ts during Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year Snack Guide
Chinese New Year Celebrations at Chinatown
Things that you often hear during CNY
A Typical Reunion Dinner
What is Lo Hei (Yu Sheng)