and Traditions all
in a Packet, which we call Red..
and gold are the colours of Lunar New Year. Red is
symbolic for good fortune, gold is symbolic for wealth.
New Year items are predominant in these two colours.
are decorated with traditional Chinese paper cut craft.
Tranquil pictures, well-wishing phrases, the twelve
Chinese zodiac animals, and various Chinese gods and
fairies in Chinese paper cut craft are always in high
demand. Chinese paper cut is crafted on a plain piece of
red paper cut finely to portray any design. As an
alternative, artists painstaking colour cut design to
are much sought after too. These are poetic expressions in
pairs. Each half-pair is of the same number of characters.
The characters are carefully selected in meaning and
rhythm to form a couplet depicting a specific theme. Some
even go so far as commissioning famous calligraphers to
inscribe couplets for them. Popular spring couplets often
depict wealth, health, happiness and longevity.
or Mandarin Oranges-While paying visits during
Chinese New Year, it is customary to bring along a pair of
tangerines or mandarin oranges for the host. Tangerines
symbolize good fortune. Tangerines with leaf intact means
firm friendship between guests and hosts. A pair of
tangerines, especially for newlyweds, symbolizes the
expanding of a couple into a family with children and
Decorations-Live blooming plants are symbolic
of growth and rebirth. Without plants, there will be no
flowers to bear fruits. A plant that blooms on Lunar New
Year symbolizes great prosperity for that particular
household. Popular flowers include plum and peach
blossoms, water lily, daffodils, peony and chrysanthemums.
blossoms are especially cherished. It symbolizes
perseverance and trustworthiness; its bamboo symbolizes
longevity and endurance. The flexible bamboo stems are
often fixed onto pine sprigs grouped in elaborate
settings, even depicting meaningful Chinese characters out
of the arrangement. Bamboo stems rearranged into a Chinese
meaning ‘longevity’, is highly treasured.
Packets or Ang Pow- are little red
envelopes with cash inside as ‘good luck’ money. These
are handed out to children during Lunar New Year.
Unmarried adults are entitled to receive too. In the old
days, parents could not afford to lavish on children.
Whatever cash parents gave out to their children in red
packets was supposed to last them for the entire year.
Hence, cash in ang-pow collected from relatives and
parents’ friends while visiting determined the financial
interest of the children. Even though economies have
turned for the better, this tradition is still very much
Dinner-Celebrations for the Chinese New
Year start with the family reunion dinner on the eve.
Family members living afar would rush back home for this
dinner. A fully assembled family symbolizes a united
family. Traditional food is specially prepared for the
occasion. Excess feast is deliberately prepared to
symbolize wealth, plenty of food and not go hungry.
New Year without firecrackers does not seem like welcoming
a new year. Legend has it that bamboo tubes were burnt to
create crackling sound to scare off monsters. In modern
days, firecrackers replaced bamboo.