What Chinese New Year means to a non-Chinese?

Let me confess that before I landed in Singapore before 10+ years, I was quite clueless about Chinese New Year. Had read a bit about it in some fictions during childhood but didn’t really bother to remember it.

We arrived in Singapore in December and just after Christmas, the whole atmosphere decked up for CNY – short form of Chinese New Year. By the way, in Singapore, we use way too many acronyms and I must write one separate post for that.

A bit of a backgrounder of Chinese New Year for readers who don’t have much idea about it.

Chinese New Year AKA Lunar New Year is celebrated to mark the start of the year. It also marks the arrival of Spring. Each Chinese New Year is represented by a particular animal and there are 12 animals for a 12-year cycle.

Auspicious Red all around you

Well coming back to the Chinese New Year, the first thing that caught my attention was beautiful red color decoration that included red lanterns and golden pineapples outside the door of my Chinese neighbor and lots of stuff toys, figurines of Pig around the area – in supermarkets and malls everywhere…

I don’t know why but newbie like me felt immediately at home due to this festive spirit. I like people who believe in the age old traditions and follow them meticulously though personally I am not too conventional when it comes to festivals and all. I also loved the similarity between Chinese traditions and Hindu traditions…Lantern festival which is kind of Deepavali and We have month to remember departed loved ones just like Chinese ghost month. Somewhere down the line, all humans are connected with the same thread!

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My puppy boy with the Chinese New Year Dog 🐶🐶 {Swipe and see #instaslide}Singapore is gearing up in full swing for Chinese New Year festivities…The New year is going to be the year of the Dog and streets, malls, homes are adorned with the beautiful decor. 🐕🐶 🐩 @gardensbythebay is bringing Dahlia Dreams for us and @fraserscentrepointsingapore malls are all set to celebrate the Lunar New Year too…@changiairport welcomes the Spring and Time to munch on and on those yummylicious #pineappletarts 🍍🍍🍍 Dog is man's best friend and hoping this year will be the best for all of us too… 🏮👘🏮 #cny2018🐶 #rainbowdiaries #festivespirit #sglifestyle

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Which animal you are? Check here:

Another thing that makes Chinese New Year fun for me is the Animals of Chinese Zodiac. I have 2 dragons at home and I know it thanks to Chinese astrology predictions that I keep reading every year. Okay, I am not telling my own Chinese Animal here obviously because which woman wants her age to be known? Not at least me. LOL.

I am as curious to read Chinese Zodiac predictions as much as I look forward to know what my Sun Sign holds for me every year.

Which animal you are, check below:

Also read your astrology predictions for 2018 which is the year of the Dog. If you are a believer then read carefully, if not just read for fun.

Foodie Heaven during CNY

Festival means food, isn’t it? Chinese New Year means Pineapple Tarts, Reunion Dinners, Yusheng and lots of other treats…By the way, each food is associated with something auspicious. Example: Oranges are for hope and wealth and Fish indicates Money and Prosperity. Long long noodles are for longevity. Such nice thoughts behind all this, isn’t it?

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{Blogged} Huat ah! What are you doing this Chinese New Year? Or rather what are you "Eating" this CNY AKA Lunar New Year? These yummylicious cheezilicious Pineapple Tarts from Pinapple Tarts Singapore should be definitely on top of your agenda. 🍍🏮👘 Also don't miss Kueh Lapis, Prune Kueh Lapis, Prawn rolls and more. Check my review #ontheblog #rainbowdiaries.com 🏮🍍🏮 Use my special code SHUBSPECIAL10 and get 10% discount for all your purchases on http://pineappletarts.sg all the way valid till end of Feb 2018.🍍🏮👘 #huatah #pineappletarts #pineappletartsg #cny #chinesenewyear #lunarnewyear #musteat #sgfoodies #whati8today #tryitsg #bestpineappletarts

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Reunion Dinner is a joyous occasion that brings entire family and extended family under one roof to enjoy moments of togetherness while bonding over sumptuous food. To enjoy all these foodie goodies, am ever-ready! Restaurants like Lotus Vegetarian always have something special for vegetarians like me!

If you are in Singapore, you MUST experience Yusheng. Yusheng is a prosperity toss of salad to put it simply. Higher you toss, more the prosperity and happiness for you!

Though Yusheng’s main ingredient is Raw Fish traditionally, it has taken some modern twists and contains many other ingredients and condiments now.

  • Salmon (or Vegetarian Fish)
  • White Radish
  • Turnips
  • Red ginger
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Crackers
  • some more spices and ingredients

Holidays…

Pre-Chinese New Year is relatively a relaxing period. Weather is great and atmosphere is full of festive fervor. Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration in Singapore and we have at least 2 days holidays. Some offices have a week long holiday too. Schools celebrate Chinese New year and students get to wear traditional clothes.

Malls have loads of promos and ongoing CNY special sale and all are in their best state of mind.

When everyone around you is happy, of course that makes you happy too!

One mandatory thing is to visit Chinatown where Chinese New Year can be witnessed in its complete glory. Lanterns, Bazaars, Food galore, ethnic clothes shopping and roaring crowds – Chinatown looks even more beautiful during Chinese New Year period.

This year Chinese New Year of the Dog falls on 16th February. What’s your plan for CNY weekend?

Gong Xi Fa Cai to all of you and May the year of the Dog bring happiness, health and prosperity us. Have paw-some time this Chinese New Year you all…

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14 comments on “What Chinese New Year means to a non-Chinese?”

  1. Nati Reply

    I’ve been always curious about Chinese New Year! I would love to witness this celebration first hand at least once in my life!

  2. Jagriti Roy Reply

    Today I got a complete information about Chinese New year. I did not have much idea about this instead of their style to denote a year according to the name of some specific animals . I liked the way you tried to find the connection of Dewali with this festival of lights. Being an Indian this words make me happy..

  3. Anna Reply

    I am ox! Sounds like a fun time to be in South Asia during CNY – I would love to witness the local celebrations

  4. Kesha Reply

    This is probably the most educational post I have ever seen about the Chinese New Year. I don’t even remember learning about it in school. I learned so much from this!

  5. Flora the Sweaterist Reply

    Thanks for telling us about this celebration! It’s always great to learn about other cultures! I personally knew little to nothing about CNY before reading your post. I have been familiar with the Zodiac system, though, and I know that I am a pig.

  6. Elizabeth O Reply

    I didn’t know much about Chinese New Year but it sounds like a great festival to celebrate, I hope you enjoy every minute ?

  7. Ayana Christine Nell Reply

    This was such a fun read!! Turns out I’m a horse, my husband is a snake, my son is a goat (funny, when he was tiny we called him a baby goat because of the sounds he made!) and my next baby will be a dog!! I think these traditions are very cool, and the food looks great too!!

  8. Ithfifi Williams / IthinityBeauty Reply

    Thank you for such an interesting post. I’ve always been really curious about the Chinese New Year celebrations, I would love to experience it for myself one day. The food looks really amazing and I can imagine theres a wonderful atmosphere and spirit!

  9. Alicia Taylor at Taylorlife.com Reply

    I didn’t know there was so much superstition around Chinese food! I should definitely take part in Chinese New Year this year. I’ll feed my hubby long noodles – and we’ll both eat oranges and fish. It looks like a great festival. I’ve always wanted to see the lanterns in person.

  10. Indu Reply

    While reading and looking at the pics I recalled my time rejoicing at Chinese New Year. All the festive aura in red and the delicacies to savor. I fully enjoyed being part of such celebrations.

  11. Emily Leary Reply

    I would love to visit Singapore and experience the Chinese New Year. Those meals look delicious – I’d like to sample them all! Have a wonderful New Year!

  12. acraftymix Reply

    I would love to see the Chinese New Year festivities for real. We have a small China Mall down the road from us and they go to so much trouble to decorate their shops. Everything is lit up and they play instruments and dance in between the shops. It’s such fun. I think I’ll make a plan to go there on the 16th, not that I need an excuse 😀

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