Are you ready to celebrate Chinese New Year in your city?
With the Chinese New Year around the corner, there is a buzz in the air. Get ready to be dazzled by the various attractions around your city and celebrate the spirit of joy, prosperity and togetherness as the Year of the Pig rolls in.
If you see an Instagram-worthy sight of resplendent red, gold and buzzing festivities in your city starting from February 4, get ready to witness the Chinese New Year in its full glory!
Also called the ‘Lunar Festival’, it is a fortnight-long celebration where Chinese communities across the world gather to bid goodbye to the old year and welcome joy, prosperity and wealth into their homes in the new year. People visit family and friends, travel, entertain, enjoy delicacies and make new plans for the year.
Here are some of the attractions that you shouldn’t miss in your city:
Lion dances and cultural performances
The lion is a prominent animal in the Chinese culture, often represented in many areas of life such as architecture, art, theatre and dance forms. It is revered for certain qualities such as strength, wisdom, stability and prosperity.
The tradition of lion dances originated in the Song dynasty and continue to be one of the major attractions of Chinese New Year festivities. The confluence of resonant drums, cymbals and dancers performing in unison is a mesmerising scene that you should definitely not miss this New Year.
Dragon boat race
If you haven’t seen the spectacular dragon boat race, you are missing out. The boats are decorated in brilliant red and gold colours to depict Dragon plumage, another auspicious animal as per Chinese folklore.
Often, monks offer their blessings before the race by painting the eyes of the dragons on the boats red – which is associated with wealth, good fortune and accomplishment. Interesting, right?
Shop till you drop
Chinese New Year is also called the ‘Spring Festival’, so it is customary for new things to be associated with the occasion – new clothes, furniture, and experiences, among others.
Elders in the family often bless children by presenting them with red envelopes with money to symbolise wealth and good luck. And buying new clothes for children is a key part of the festivities.
…and of course, Food!
It is not a celebration until there’s food, right? And who can beat the Chinese in making food an art form? A lot of thought and care is put into preparing food that signifies the confluence of old and new in the Chinese New Year.
A number of restaurants, pubs and kiosks go above and beyond to offer a variety of delicacies – so take your pick from the range of fried, steamed and baked spring rolls, dumplings, fish, noodles, scrumptious rice cakes and mouth-watering desserts. So if you enjoy Chinese cuisine, you will most definitely want to sample the spread during the Chinese New Year.
Fun fact – Did you know that spring rolls are basically egg rolls that got their name from the ‘Spring Festival’?
Lunar lanterns and fireworks
Look out for the colourful lanterns and fireworks illuminating the evening sky on the final day of the festival. The lunar lanterns are crafted to highlight the zodiac animal for the year and they change every year. 2019 is the year of the Pig, specifically the Brown Earth Pig, which represents the earth and all its bounties in terms of wealth and good fortune.
The zodiac animal for the year is different every year and recurs in twelve-year cycles with the Pig as the twelfth and last in the cycle. The other animals that mark the Chinese calendar are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, and Dog.
The Chinese New Year is a glorious time for celebrating with your loved ones and making new plans. Looking to host your family and friends at home? Here’s an interesting article on how you can decorate your home right in time for the Chinese New Year.
Gōng xǐ fā cái, happy Chinese New Year!