Traditionally, Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 to 16 days. The event starts on New Year’s Eve, which is the last day of the lunar calendar, and ends on the first month’s 15th day.
What with honoring the ancestors and deities, family reunion dinners, parades, and events, this annual festivity can be a lot longer than any other celebration in the city.
If you want to know more about the activities done on this occasion, here’s a simple day-by-day guide to the Chinese New Year celebration in Singapore.
Things to Do Before Chinese New Year
Chinese people follow a variety of traditions and customs before the celebration. To name a few, here are some of the common pre-CNY preparations and activities they follow.
Prior to the grand celebration, families conduct a thorough cleaning of their homes. For a day or two, people will clean all the curtains, bedsheets, upholstery, sofa beds, and even all the corners in the rooms to sweep away the bad luck and misfortune from the previous year.
To usher in good luck and fortune, people also put up red banners, Chinese lanterns, paper cuttings, door couplets, and other auspicious home decorations. They usually do this a week before the Lunar New Year.
Although Chinese people are seen as frugal most of the time, they tend to spend more generously on festive occasions. Before the new year celebration, many families go to shopping malls to purchase food, snacks, clothes, and decorations.
Traditional Activities During Chinese New Year
After all the preparations, it’s time for the main event. To have an idea of how people celebrate CNY in Singapore, we listed some of the activities and traditions observed during this annual festivity.
Family Reunion Dinners
Having a festive dinner with the whole family is an important part of this occasion. You see, just like how people from western countries get together with their family to spend Christmas’ eve, Singaporeans also reunite with their family on Chinese New Year’s eve.
This traditional activity symbolizes the reaffirmation of love and respect to each family member, so they believe that it helps them bind together as a unit for the years to come. Although many prefer homemade dinners, some families also spend their reunion dinners on popular Chinese restaurants and steamboat buffet spots.
Gifts and Red Packets or Hongbao
Gift-giving is also part of the CNY tradition. One of the most popular gifts you can give to children and unmarried family relatives or friends is Hongbao or a red packet.
This beautiful red envelope is filled with an auspicious amount of money that is believed to be a symbol of good luck and fortune for the upcoming year.
Events and Festivals
After all the festivities, people stay up until midnight to watch the countdown celebrations, lion and dragon dances, and vibrant fireworks displays in the city.
However, it’s best to note right now, that the events and festivals during the Chinese New Year in Singapore are lessened due to the pandemic, and some people may also just prefer to watch these events virtually.