AsiaOne's 'very normal' Chinese New Year customs that may surprise you

AsiaOne's 'very normal' Chinese New Year customs that may surprise you
PHOTO: Unsplash

The all-too-familiar jingles, with their Chinese drum beats and gongs, have descended upon us - playing on a repeated loop at every shopping mall across the country. Everyone's seeing red and familiar snacks like pineapple tarts and egg rolls (or colloquially known as love letters) line the shelves and tables.

Yes, Chinese New Year is here and as widely-celebrated as it may be, each family celebrates it in their own unique way. Here, we present to you five unusual customs that the AsiaOne team practises.

1) When you're young, single and giving

"I give out more red packets than I receive (monetary wise) despite being 30 and not married! My grandparents, parents, godmother and even my siblings are the happy recipients." - Lynette, 30

"I've started to give my friends' children red packets during Chinese New Year. Isn't this what those adorable red packets are for? I find it weird that my married friends want to give me red packets at gatherings since we're all around the same age. The festive season is a great time to dote on the little ones though." - Min Lee, 34

2) Tying leeks for a smooth year ahead

"My family has this tradition of tying leeks to our house gate every Chinese New Year. Not just one leek, but a bouquet of leeks! We would tie them before Chinese New Year and the leeks will be left there for the rest of the festive season. Leeks in Hokkien is pronounced as "sng" which is a homophone for counting money in Hokkien." - Kimberly, 21

3) A whole new way to ensure a wealthy year

"Since we were kids, my mother told us to keep all our red packets under our pillows until the 15th day of the Chinese New Year because it's supposed to bless us with a wealthy year ahead." - Bryan, 27

4) Taking the stairs to cleanse toxic people from your life

"On the first day of Chinese New Year, my mum 'heartlessly' drags me out of bed in the wee hours to 'walk up the stairs' with her. Keep in mind that I live on the eleventh floor. She believes that it is a form of cleansing which allows to you 'walk off' the toxic people in your lives. This may be the reason why I dread Chinese New Year." - Junyi, 21

5) Keeping old traditions alive

"Okay, I thought this was very Chinese; apparently not, looking at the range of reactions in the newsroom (like they just received a $2 red packet). On the first morning of every Chinese New Year, my siblings and I have to 'bai nian' to our parents, which is giving them our best wishes for the new year. We would have to greet them first before we head out to greet others during Chinese New Year house visits. These sessions are elaborate affairs -- my parents would be seated side by side, and all four of us would prepare mandarin oranges (and ang baos now that we earn our own keep).

"We also have to be armed with elaborate Chinese greetings that change every year, and because the sequence is based on seniority, my youngest sister always has to come up with something the rest of us haven't used (bless her heart). We then go up one by one and kneel in front of our parents to pay our compliments, before receiving an ang bao in return. We may be used to this tradition but the stress attached never wanes!" - Thiam Peng, 32

With numerous customs being practised during this time of the year, we hope that this will give you some insight into how some families have their own spin on it. Who knows? Perhaps some of these might even be familiar, and perhaps some might even be interesting enough for you to try.

Here's wishing everyone a prosperous and successful Chinese New Year!

 

asiaone@mm2entertainment.com

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