Beginner's Guide to Chinese New Year in Singapore
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Beginner’s Guide to Chinese New Year in Singapore

Although Chinese New Year is widely celebrated worldwide, each country can still have varying customs and traditions

For individuals who might not be familiar with how Chinese New Year is celebrated, don’t fret because we have your back. Here’s a beginner’s guide to Singapore’s Chinese New Year celebration.

What is the Chinese New Year like in Singapore?

To start, Chinese New Year is a pretty grand occasion in Singapore. The festivities run from the last days of the Chinese calendar’s final month and end on the first month’s 15th day. 

From grand light-up events, street bazaars, religious rituals, and family reunion dinners, you can expect to have a busy week with all the festivities involved in this occasion. 

Usually, festive lights and decorations are ramped up in Chinatown and shopping malls. In addition to that, CNY flowers, as well as CNY hampers, are delivered to houses in a mad rush. 

What are the common customs and traditions during this period? 

Note that there’s no linear way to celebrate this festive occasion, so the customs and traditions for each household can significantly vary. For your reference, here are the typical customs and traditions they practice. 

People visit temples to offer prayers to their ancestors and deities. 

Paying respect and prayers to ancestors is an important part of the Chinese New Year’s celebration. Singaporeans also visit Chinese temples to light incense and ask the deities for good luck and blessings for the upcoming year. 

People thoroughly clean the house to sweep away the bad luck. 

Many people believe that thoroughly cleaning their house before the festival can help sweep away the past year’s bad luck and make their properties ready to receive the good fortune of the new year. 

Some individuals who own commercial establishments even hire a professional cleaning team and disinfection services to handle the job for them. 

They go shopping. 

After cleaning and decorating their house, many families go shopping. First on their shopping list is the variety of foods served during the reunion dinner. 

Chinese people also believe that buying new items for their houses symbolizes welcoming new luck and getting ready for a fresh start. For this reason, many people shop for new items for their house, such as new upholstery, oven, television, loft bed, home decors, and more. 

Families get together for a reunion dinner. 

Even if there can be a variety of customs and traditions regarding Chinese New Year, family reunion dinners will always be one of the most important concerns. No matter how far each family member is, they would do their best to return home for this annual gathering. 

Most of them enjoy a festive homemade dinner composed of many dishes with auspicious connotations. On the other hand, some families prefer to spend their reunion dinners in Chinese restaurants

They exchange red envelopes or Hongbaos. 

CNY celebrations will not be complete without exchanging gifts and red packets (Hongbao). However, ever since the pandemic, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has encouraged people to send their Hongbao digitally. 

With the help of the apps PayNow and PayLah, you can now send and receive e-hongbao if you have a savings account or debit card from major banks in Singapore.