Are you all prepped for the Lunar New Year, a.k.a Chinese New Year (CNY)? If you are not, take a day off from work and start working on it! CNY is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. Here’s some facts about Chinese New Year;
- Chinese New Year is also known as Spring Festival; where people are looking forward to spring, planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts.
- The longest Chinese holiday! It could reach up to 40 days of celebrations.
- Dumplings are staple, so be sure to prepare your appetite for never-ending dumpling sessions.
- Every year has a zodiac anima; 2020 is the year of the Rat!
The Lunar New Year is the time of fresh start and new beginnings. Amazingly, it is celebrated across the world. Continent to continent, each and every country has its own unique celebration of the Lunar New Year. One thing in common, the red colour is in full swing! We have celebrations ranging from firecrackers in the neighbourhood, family gatherings, and even praying silently in your own homes. Hop on the bandwagon and let’s journey through different countries to see their rollicking festivity.
1. Kuala Lumpur’s Thean Hou Temple
This year, the Thean Hou Temple ushers in prosperity and blessings with their Light and the Illuminating Lantern. As one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia, thousands visit the temple annually to celebrate the festival. The Year of the Rat welcomes visitors and worshippers with two specially-created giant mice about 6.4 meter tall, as a symbol to the “Year of the Rat”, and would receive a replica of an ancient coin each given out in peace bags. Make your way to the temple regardless of your race, we are in this together!
2. New York’s Firecracker Ceremony & Festival
You know it’s going down when there’s firecracker in the title. What’s famous in NYC during CNY? CHINATOWN BABY. Filled with crackling firecrackers, delectable Chinese cuisine, lion dance and parades. Be sure to make your way to the streets of Manhattan’s Chinatown and let the celebration take you away!
3. Singapore’s Chingay
This might be one of the largest street performances and float parade in Asia. It is held during Chinese New Year with traditional dancing dragon, coruscating floats, stilt walkers, traditional and contemporary performances. The parade stretches from the original F1 Pit Building to NS Square (Marina Bay floating platform). With combination of striking laser lights, bursting firecrackers and myriad of volunteers for the parade, no wonder it is attended by Singaporeans of different races and tourists too!
4. Vietnam Tet Celebration
You know how busy Vietnam can be on a non-festive season. So, Spring Festival in Vietnam is a whole new level of busyness. The celebration is called Tet Nguyen Dan, Vietnamese New Year which also has lion dance, firecrackers and big feasts! Tet Nguyen Dan translates literally to "the first morning of the first day of the new year”. Tet celebration is influenced by Vietnam's past as a Chinese vassal state. They pay tribute to their ancestors with offerings, beating drums and lighting firecrackers to welcome the new year and lay out traditional feasts for family and friends! Not forgetting the Flower Market happenings where they sell a variety of flower collections in celebration to the brand new year.
5. Korean Seollal Celebration
In Korea, the Lunar New Year celebration takes a step back to unwind and relax with close families, where people from the city travel back to their hometown to celebrate Seollal. Seollal begins with an ancestral rite, a ritual to express respect and gratitude to one’s ancestors. Next, it continues with the New Year Bowing (sebae), where the young will bow their heads to the floor for the elders and receive money. Not to mention, eating a delicious bowl of tteokguk, a rice cake soup and play multiples traditional games. Sounds like a relaxing holiday for the Koreans; a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The Lunar New Year celebrations around the world depict rich narratives of culture and customs from generations ago, and lived on until today. Making its way into the year 2020, we are looking at celebrations in larger groups hustling through the streets; parading and welcoming the New Year with blessings and glad-tidings. No matter how the celebrations are, CNY welcomes people of all races and religion to join the festivity. Most importantly, ANG PAO AND MANDARIN ORANGES ALL THE WAY! Gong Xi Fa Cai to everyone!