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Redpacket.com/Singapore/Customs and Traditions all in a Packet, which we call Red..

Colors-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.

Paper Art Decorations-Houses 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 provide variety.

Couplets 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.

Tangerines 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 grandchildren.

Floral 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.

Plum 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 character shou, meaning ‘longevity’, is highly treasured.

Red 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 alive.

Reunion 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.

Firecrackers-Lunar 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.

Taboos & Superstitions
Myths & Legends - Nian
Myths & Legends - Ren Ri
Myths & Legends - Yuan Xiao Jie
Traditional Chinese New Year Food
Chinese New Year Greetings