Chinese New Year In Singapore
Having just completed a traditional Christmas and New Years celebration in California, I returned to Singapore just in time for the Lunar New Year. According to the Chinese traditional calendar, Chinese New Year falls on February 3rd and since it is considered the beginning of spring, it is also called the Spring Festival.
It is a time when families and friends get together to say goodbye to the old and bring in the new. Each year is given the name of an animal and 2011 is the year of the Rabbit.
The festivities start on the eve of February 2nd and ends on the full moon 15 days later with the Lantern festival. Families, however, start preparations a month in advance. I arrived in Singapore just in time for all the sales and throngs of people shopping in the already crowded stores.
On New Year’s Eve, families celebrate with the “reunion” meal known as “tuan yuan fan”. It is traditionally, a time for Chinese families to gather for a feast and reunite with their immediate family members as a symbol of unity and to renew and reaffirm family ties. There are many other traditions that are followed during Chinese New Year; homes are decorated with flowers and red and gold paper decorations wishing happiness, prosperity, and good luck for the coming year. Gifts are exchanged and small red packets with money inside are given to children to buy holiday treats and symbolize good fortune. (I was also told that it was the one time that children were allowed to gamble on mah jong or card games that were being played by their elders after the large meal)
I had the honor to be invited by dear friends for their New Years Eve dinner and although not a traditional Chinese meal; it was lovely to be part of their family celebration.
Happy Lunar New Year