春节 chūn jié, the spring festival is the real name of the Chinese new year, which celebrates the beginning of Spring. It is the most important traditional festival for all Chinese people in the world. This year the New-Year-Day falls on February 1, but preparations usually start eight days before.
It is mostly about food, cleaning and decorating. According to Chinese tradition, it is not recommended to cook and clean between the first day and the fifth day of the New Year, as these activities scare away luck and wealth. So, it is better to prepare all this in advance.
Here is the list of must-have foods and items in Singapore to celebrate the New Year.
1- Orange and pineapple: orange 桔 jú in Chinese is very close to 吉 jí, which means happiness; pineapple 黄梨 huáng lí is very close to 旺利 wàng lì, prosperity. Be careful, the quantity must always be an even number, because good things always come in pairs.
2 - All in Red 红 hóng: According to Chinese legend, the evil monster 年 Nián comes every Chinese New Year. The color red and the sound of fireworks protect us against it.
3- The character 福 fú luck and happiness: Stick on the front door. You can often find this character upside down because “dào” in Chinese means “倒 dǎo upside down”, but also “到 dào arrive” and you have to make happiness arrive at home !
4- 对联 duì lián : the parallel sentences that contain New Year's wishes and that people stick on both sides of the front door.
5- 窗花 chuāng huā : the patterns cut out of paper to stick to the windows, and in red color of course.
6- Fish and chicken ：鱼 yú fish in Chinese is pronounced the same as 余 yú the remaining, “年年有余 nián nián yóu yú year after year, there is always leftover”. This expresses one of the dearest wishes of the Chinese during the tough and ancient times: to always have enough to live on. 鸡 jī chicken is also very close to the pronunciation of 吉 jí happiness, and therefore also essential for the New Year's meal. Warning: always cook fish and chicken in whole, in order to keep all the happiness!
7- Cakes: 糕 gāo is pronounced like “high” 高 gāo. 年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng， each year higher and higher, wish progress for the new year.
8- Red Objects for Tigers 虎 hǔ: Here's a tip for people of the Tiger sign: always have a red object on you during the year of Tiger. It can be underwear, a belt, a bracelet or any other red object. It will protect you throughout this year of Tiger. Indeed, the Chinese believe that the year of your Chinese zodiac is an eventful year, and red is your lucky-charm.
Are you ready for the Chinese New Year?