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5 things to do during Chinese New Year in Singapore

Usher in the Lunar New Year with these celebrations around Singapore

You’ll see red lanterns, dragons and good fortune phrases galore as you walk around Singapore during the Chinese New Year period. One of the biggest festivals of the year, it’s celebrated to mark the beginning of the Chinese lunar calendar. Here are 5 ways to take part in the festivities. 

Head to Chinatown

Where best to get into the spirit of Chinese New Year than at the heart of Chinatown? Every year the area will be lit up with handmade sculptured lanterns, with a huge one of the year’s zodiac sign at the junction near Chinatown Point. It may be crowded but do walk down Temple Street where there’s the evening Festive Street Bazaar to buy titbits, clothing and other Chinese New Year necessities. Stores will also offer samples of jelly, nuts and snacks so take some to try! 

Image Source: Jin Shan

Toss Yu Sheng

Yu Sheng, also known as Lo Hei, is a Cantonese-style raw fish salad that’s tossed into the air with chopsticks while auspicious phrases are said. Although it’s popular in Singapore and Malaysia, most Chinese in other countries including China and Hong Kong do not have the practice of eating Yu Sheng and might not even know what it is. Give it a try as during the Chinese New Year season, the dish is easily available in most restaurants in Singapore and the servers will assist in reciting the wishes of prosperity and luck.  

Wear red clothing

The colour red symbolises good luck and is believed to scare away evil spirits. The Chinese will wear new clothing in red or bright colours to welcome the new year. Most shops will be selling red clothing so it’ll be easy to get decked up in red, especially if you’ve been invited for a Chinese New Year gathering. 

Read your zodiac fortune for the coming year

You’ll find plaques detailing the fortunes of each of the 12 zodiac animals at various Chinese New Year events around town. Most will list out the forecast for your career, health and love life – some even provide lucky numbers and colours for the year. The Chinese Zodiac consists of 12 animals in this order: rat, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat or sheep (the Chinese character 羊 represents both), monkey, chicken, dog and pig. It’s part of the festivities to find your zodiac sign and have fun reading your fortune with a pinch of salt.

Image source: SweetSpot

Feast on Chinese New Year snacks

Forget counting calories or dieting, it’s the Chinese New Year season! Popular must-haves include pineapple tarts – buttery and crumbly pastry topped with pineapple jam; love letters – thin biscuit rolls that are hollow on the inside; and bak kwa – slices of barbecued dried sweet meat. Most of these snacks have special symbolism such as resembling gold ingots, or have names that relate to well wishes such as long life, health and wealth. These are available almost everywhere you go during the Chinese New Year season, so be sure to take some home as they’ll also make good souvenirs of your trip to Singapore.