Get ready to ring in the Year of the Rat! Chinese New Year 2020, which starts on 25th January, will be celebrated across the globe and is one of the world’s biggest holidays. It is also called chunjie (春节) or Spring Festival, and represents new beginnings and fresh starts. If you’re looking for good fortune, abundant wealth, career success, top grades, good health and a romantic partner this year, you’re at the right place. We’ve gathered all the essential information you’ll need to help make your New Year extra huat!
In This Article
- Spring cleaning & home decoration
- Chinese New Year outfits
- What auspicious foods to eat
- Round up your family and friends
- Give and/or receive red packets
- Chinese phrases to use during lohei
- Celebrate with a bang!
- What to avoid during Chinese New Year
1. Spring cleaning & home decoration
Chinese New Year preparations typically begin weeks before, especially if you will be opening your house to guests. Traditionally, the home goes through the most thorough spring cleaning before Chinese New Year. Allocate a weekend to throw out, donate or mend the things that you no longer have use for – be it broken electronics, dead plants or any form of clutter. Clearing out the old, broken and unnecessary is optimal for feng shui as it means making room for better things to come and of course, more huat!
On top of ensuring that your home is clean and clutter-free, be sure to also adorn your space with the right Chinese New Year decorations. With red representing happiness and good fortune, be sure to decorate your home liberally with this huat colour. There’s a massive variety of Chinese New Year decorations available, from tangerine trees and bamboo to paper cuttings and door couplets. If you’re feeling creative, you can also try your hand at making your own CNY decorations!
2. Chinese New Year outfits
To make your Chinese New Year 2020 extra huat, you’ll need to look the part. Chinese New Year is the time to look your best – this means trimmed hair and fingernails, and new clothes and shoes. Be sure to book your dental, hair and mani-pedi appointment early, as slots get filled quickly during the festive period. Red is, of course, the colour of choice for Chinese New Year. However, if you don't want to look like a walking angpao, you can easily incorporate the auspicious colour in your underwear or accessories instead. They’ll do the trick!
3. What auspicious foods to eat
Food is undoubtedly one of the central themes of Chinese New Year. It’s important to incorporate as many lucky foods as possible into your Chinese New Year meals. For example, noodles symbolise longevity, fish represents abundance and red dates signify success in all endeavours. Learn how to put together an extra huat reunion dinner menu here.
4. Round up your family & friends
Chinese New Year is often the time when friends and family from out of town return home to celebrate and spend quality time with their loved ones. Reunion dinner, in particular, is a time to pay respects to ancestors, gather family, and celebrate the importance of kinship values such as filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. Throughout the 15-day celebrations, visits are made to the homes of family and friends which is called bainian (拜年).
To bring extra huat to your home this Chinese New Year, why not host your own party? Better yet, invite friends and colleagues from other races to share in the festivities. The gathering of loved ones in your home to feast on festive treats and exchange auspicious greetings creates a bustling and lively atmosphere known as renqi (人气), which brings blessings to your home.
5. Give and/or receive red packets
The significance of the red packet lies in the colour of the envelopes. With red symbolising energy and good fortune, both the giving and receiving of red packets are a form of blessing. Typically, red packets are given to the younger generation (especially those still in school), elders and employees. When giving a red packet, it’s the tradition to use crisp new notes in even denominations (except 4). When receiving a red packet, always accept with both hands and express thanks to the giver with an auspicious phrase.
When visiting this Chinese New Year, don't forget to give the host a pair of mandarin oranges. Similar to how red packets bring luck, the Cantonese pronunciation of giving mandarin oranges, songgam, means "giving gold". This signifies wishing prosperity to the recipients.
6. Chinese phrases to use during lohei
Lohei is the tossing of yusheng to bring good luck and wealth during Chinese New Year. It’s a tradition that is unique to Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore. Often a loud and lively affair, there is also meaning and symbolism behind every ingredient in this dish. Beyond just shouting “huat ah”, here are 5 phrases you can use to up your good luck quotient.
- For incoming wealth – Zhao Cai Jin Bao 招财进宝
- For success and promotion at work – Feng Sheng Shui Qi 风生水起
- For romance – tian tian mi mi 甜甜蜜蜜
- For good health – Sheng Ti Jian Kang 身体健康
- For a lucky year of the rat – Shu Nian Da Ji 鼠年大吉
7. Celebrate with a bang!
According to Chinese mythology, Nian is a beast that lives in hiding. At the beginning of Chinese New Year, when food is sparse in the winter season, it would emerge from hiding to eat crops and sometimes villagers, particularly preying on children. In order to intimidate and ward off Nian, villagers would use firecrackers, drums, and even plates and bowls to make loud noises in hopes of scaring off the creature.
Even today, the clashing of cymbals during lion dance performances and loud fireworks displays are believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune during Chinese New Year. With the annual light-up, lion dance performances and nightly stage shows, Chinatown is the place to be to soak in the festivities. If you're looking to catch fireworks, head over to the popular River Hong Bao and join in the fun and enjoy the huat atmosphere.
8. What to avoid during Chinese New Year 2020
While there are many things you can do to ring in Chinese New Year 2020 will good fortune, with the do’s come the don’ts. Avoid the following activities:
- Using scissors and knives: Sharp objects will cut your stream of wealth and success.
- Cursing, fighting and crying: It does not bode well to start the new year with such negative acts.
- Sweeping on the first few days of Chinese New Year: To sweep is to get rid of good luck. Keep all sweeping to before the first day of Chinese New Year.
- Breaking things: Similar to using scissors and knives, breaking things will break your connection to prosperity and fortune.
No matter where we are in life, we could all use a little bit of luck. For the Chinese community, starting the new year right sets the tone for the rest of the year. Remember these essential tips while planning your Chinese New Year 2020 and be sure to check out the upcoming Lunar New Year activities and promotions happening at Giant! Gong xi fa cai to you and your family!