Chinese New Year is around the corner once again! If you get invited to a friend's house for a CNY gathering, here's what you can expect!
Everyone sits around a table with 2 pots of soup sitting on a portable electric stove. Plates of raw food surround the pots and you basically throw in whatever you feel like having. There are ladles to scoop food in and out of the pot, but usually people just use their own pair of chopsticks to do it as well. Might be yucky for some but we guess it kind of makes everyone feel more like family. Lol~ (Any bacteria dies in the hot soup anyway right?)
When the food runs out, the host normally refills the raw food and you feel like you're having a buffet because the food never seems to run out.
Click here to watch how a home-cooked reunion meal is prepared!
2. Watching movies together on TV
Somehow it seems like the same movies are screened on free-to-air TV every year, but people still enjoy them - especially the evergreen slapstick Stephen Chow or kick-ass Jackie Chan movies. People bond over munching CNY snacks and watching a movie together. Other than movies, the typical programmes aired are CNY countdown events from Taiwan or China and music award ceremonies.
4. Catching up (aka questioning)
For most, visiting friends and relatives is a yearly affair - during CNY, so it's a time to catch up. The older relatives tend to ask the same set of questions:
- If you are single: Do you have a boyfriend yet? (Reply: No.) Why not? You are so handsome/pretty. Don't have too high expectations.
- If you are attached: So when are you getting married? (Reply: We are just taking things slow.) Quickly get married I can't wait to attend your wedding.
- If you are married: No children yet? (Reply: Maybe in the next few years.) Why wait so long you have been married for some time already.
- If you have kids: Are you planning to have another one? (Reply: We're still thinking about it.) It's always good to have more kids.
Be prepared with the right answers! The best response when you don't know how to respond? Just nod, smile and agree.
Watch us answer typical questions asked during CNY!
5. Giving/Receiving ang pows (red packets)
If you are single, bring a couple of mandarin oranges. You will need to give two (good things come in pairs!) mandarin oranges to those married and older than you and say a word of blessing, such as good health, prosperity or success to them in the new year. If you are married, prepare some cash with you spouse in ang pows and distribute them to both the married and unmarried. If you are giving an ang pow to someone older and important (like your mother-in-law :D), then give two oranges as well and wish them well for the new year. If you are not Chinese, you don't have feel obligated to give ang pows especially when people give you one. :) There is no rule as to how much to give, except that the amount should be an even number. The closer you are to certain relatives and friends, the more people tend to give. The winners: Kids.
6. Playing with sparkles
Firecrackers are banned in Singapore, so sparkle sticks are the best you can get in this land. You can buy sparkles from stores selling miscellaneous items in the housing estates or from night markets (a huge night market is open in Chinatown 3 weeks before CNY). The kids play outdoors in the playgrounds or in the yard.
Click here to watch our visit to Chinatown during CNY!
This is why people never hungry and always put on weight over CNY. *Yikes*
Happy new year everyone! HUAT ah~!