Chinese New Year is almost upon us!
There’s a lot to do before the day arrives and amidst all the frenzy, you might forget a thing or two.
Stay calm though, to help you out with your preparations, we have prepared a checklist of things you need to get done before Chinese New Year.
Now all that’s left is for you to check them off!
Li Chun refers to the beginning of spring. Traditionally, it is an important day for ancient Chinese farmers and they would celebrate it with big ceremonies and worship their ancestors with the hopes of a bountiful harvest for the upcoming year.
Some people would try to make an egg balance on this day (the proportion of night and day should be equal on all parts of the earth, making this feat easier to do on this day!)
But for most Chinese Singaporeans, we may spend at least some part of this day queuing at the ATM and depositing some money into our bank account.
We are not sure if bank transfers actually count or if this practice actually helps bring us luck for the year, but no harm just trying it out, right?
This year, Li Chun falls on 4 Feb and according to a viral timetable on 65daigou.com , there are also specific auspicious times for each Chinese Zodiac Sign!
Here's a simple graphic we've created to help you share this timetable with your friends on WhatsApp or FB! :)
Don't wait till the week before CNY to colour your white hair.
Other than long long queues, some salons would be charging CNY surcharges, which makes your hair experience a little more expensive than it should be!
To get the best bang for your buck, check out our list of salons with NO CNY Surcharges and are in fact running promotions!
It is taboo to owe or lend someone money by New Year's day as anyone who does so will be owing or lending all year.
You may not be intentionally owing someone money but it is always good practice to review what you may have unintentionally missed out, whether it is a promised payment for dinner (which someone else paid for you), sharing of presents with colleagues / friends or even a request for a friend to purchase something online for you. Have you paid them back yet?
The custom of not borrowing also means that you probably should make sure you have enough ang baos with you all the time. It can be pretty embarrassing to run out of ang baos (and you technically cannot borrow from your parents as you can't owe and they can't lend on this day!) especially if it is your first few years of giving them!
Using new things during Chinese New Year is a sign of good luck .... and this includes the bank notes you're giving in the ang bao!
If you are not one of those Premier Banking or Private Banking customers (whom we hear faces zero queues + offered free drinks during your appointment to collect the new bank notes), you should consider getting your New Bank Notes as soon as possible! The queues at the bank branches can be crazy long and definitely not an efficient use of your time!
Look out for pop-up ATMs that your bank may put up or ULU Bank branches where queues are short.
(We've already spotted a Pop Up ATM today at a Community Centre - 16 January 2016)
FYI: You DON'T have to be that bank's customer to change your bank notes there! Just withdraw your money and request for a change of new bank notes even if you are not the bank's customer!
(For those in town, we hear that OCBC Frank Bank Branch in SMU is usually quite empty!)
The Mandarin Oranges sound like 吉 in Mandarin and is therefore a symbol of good luck in the Chinese Culture.
Therefore, stock up on your Mandarin Oranges, you'll be giving them out to whoever you visit!
New Year, New Clothes ... and that means new everything from your top to your underwear and shoes! This custom originates from the old belief that red could scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. Wearing new clothes also symbolizes having more than enough things to use and wear in the new year.
Your new clothes doesn't have to be red (although preferably so) but do avoid colours like black (especially the combination black and white!) which are considered inauspicious!
Don't forget to get your nails groomed before CNY!
It is inauspicious to cut your nails on the first day of Chinese New Year and you'll probably find that your look is incomplete without a nice coat of colour.
Although CNY surcharges are aplenty, you may still have to fork out the cash as ordinary nail colours can't last long for a person as Chor Lor (unladylike, not-gentle) as me.
Of course, you can try to opt for soft gels such as Calgel and Paragel (not gelish!) which are less damaging to your nails and best of all, doesn't come off easily! This means that you can get your nails done 2 weeks before and your nails will still look perfect for Chinese New Year! You can read about Differences between Calgel vs Paragel vs Gelish and other gelish nails here if you want!
If you have the extra time, why not get an eyelash extension as well? An eyelash extension can last for more than 4 weeks and will make your eyes pop... without you needing to apply mascara before you leave the house!
We love Allongee Japanese Beauty Design @ Keong Saik Road for their eyelash extension as the lashes are applied one by one and the stylists here are just so professional!
Did we mention that they are also all Japanese?
The entire house should be cleaned before New Year's Day to prevent Good Fortune from being swept away on New Year's Day!
It's a good time to take stock of the possessions you have and eliminate the unnecessary and the bad from your living space! If you find it difficult to get started, consider reading this book by Japanese Cleaning Consultant Marie Kondo who has created a revolutionary way to approach cleaning here!
We found it useful and hope you will too!
After cleaning up, don't forget to purchase some Chinese New Year decorations and plants to give your home that extra festive spirit!
Chinese New Year is often a time where family and the extended family gathers to update each other on the happenings in the past year and often to share a meal!
If you don't want the hassle of preparing the food, you should definitely make your dinner reservations early as restaurants (particularly good and affordable ones) are usually booked out weeks in advance!
Regardless, remember your Yu Sheng as that is always a custom that brings the entire family together!
Pineapple tarts, bak kwa and chocolates may have lots of calories but Chinese New Year just doesn't feel the same without them!
So make sure you have purchased all your favourite goodies early to avoid sold out disappointments.
If you will be making most goodies yourself, better get started now, there’s lots to do before we welcome in the lunar new year!
Gong Xi Fa Cai! Wishing you and your family good fortune this Chinese New Year!