12 Things to do for Chinese New Year in Singapore : The Ultimate HUAT Guide

Huat ah!
Chinese New Year is just around the corner. In order to 'Huat' during this occasion, here are 10 things you should prepare or do for the festivities ahead.

1 Spring Cleaning
Spring Cleaning

This is the period where you would clear out all the junk and unused items for the past year. Usually, one would do this a few weeks before the New Year starts. Clearing unwanted items would make way for new stuff. You could donate or even made some money selling your items.  Use this period to fix up spoilt lights or broken items at home.

Cleaning the house would rid it of back luck so good luck or HUAT would fill the space during the new year.

2 Decorate the house
Mew Year Decorations
To get ready for the celebrations ahead, fill your house with flowers, pussy willows and Chinese New Year Ornaments in red and gold. Red symbolises good fortune and joy while gold represents wealth. Huat ah!

3 Clear Debts
Debts are to be repaid during Chinese new year. If you start your year in debt, you would probably end up in debt too. It may be hard to repay the house and car debt but for the $10 you borrow for lunch, there should be no excuse.

4 Wear new clothes
It is customary to wear new outfits for Chinese New Year. New clothes signify a fresh start. It is best to wear red for the new year to HUAT. If you think you do not want to look like a walking Ang Pow, outfits in shades of red will work too. Remember to have a haircut and personal grooming to complete the look.

5 Visit Chinatown

Chinese New Year preparation will not be complete without a visit to Chinatown. Make a trip down to get Chinese New Year goodies, decorations and traditional clothes. Soak up the atmosphere and HUAT!

6 Reunion Dinner

Reunion Dinner is the most important dinner in the Chinese Calendar. This is the time when the family make an effort to come together to feast and reconnect. For some extended families, it may even mean a gathering of several generations under one roof.

Enjoy a traditional Reunion dinner with dishes like fish 有鱼, Fat Choy 發財, Hakka and Chicken. Some families prefer Steamboat or even BBQ. Regardless of the choice of dishes, the most important thing is that the families have a meal together.

7 Lo Hei Yu Sheng 捞魚生 with the right phases
Lo Hei

Lo Hei is said to be one of the traditions with its roots in  Singapore. It translates to ' tossing up of good fortune' . Usually, a group would gather around large plate tossing its contents while shouting out auspicious phases. When you toss the Yu SHeng, you can say the following
"Nian Nian You Yu" 年年有余 
"Da Ji Da Li" 大吉大利
 "Wan Shi Ru Yi !" 萬事如意
"Sheng Yi Xing Long" 生意兴隆
"Huat Ah" 发啊

There are 14 steps to do for a proper Lo Hei. Look out for our guide on How to Lo Hei for the proper sequence and terms in the next few days!

8 Shou Sui 守岁
Children would love this tradition where family members will gather and stay awake throughout the night. Traditionally, it is said that this practice is meant to fend off the mythical beast call 'Nian' 年.  There is also another version that states that parents would have a longer life if children stayed awake longer. This is probably the only night where parents will not nag at you for staying up late.

9 Switch on all lights in the house during Lunar New Year's Eve
This tradition is also related to the beast 'Nian' . By  switching on the lights, it will ward off 'Nian' who is afraid of the light

10 Prepare Red Packets

Red Packets are meant to symbolise happiness and luck. Give amounts in even number and avoid the number 4. Notes are preferred to be new.

11 Practise Chinese Greetings

When you visit relatives or friends, arm yourself with a handful of Chinese Greetings for luck.
Here are some of the usual greetings

新年快乐!(xīn nián kuài lè) " Happy New Year"

恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái) “Wish you wealth and prosperity.”

财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn) “May wealth flow in.”.

大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì)" May you have good luck and great profit

年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú) " May you have great abundance

學業進步 (xué yè jìn bù) " Do well in Studies"

12 Start the year with a bang

Start your new year with a bang with new year songs, lion dance and boisterous cheers in lieu of fireworks. This is meant to ward off 'Nian'. The best phase to use... Huat Ah!

Do not do list

In addition to the things you do, there are things you should not do during Chinese New Year.

Do not sweep the floor on the first day
Keep your broom hidden, you do not want to sweep your luck away.

Do not wash your hair
It washes away good luck.

Do not wash clothes
You will wash your luck away.

No negative words
Saying words like 'death' might bring misfortune.

Do not borrow money
If you borrow money, you will be in debt for the rest of the year.

Breaking items
It will bring bad luck.

Do not use Sharp objects
This would deplete wealth.

Do not wear black or white clothes
These are colours associated with death.

Related Readings
How to hire Lion Dance for CNY

14 Steps to Lo Hei

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