March 03, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Kung Hey Fat Choy! It’s the year of the Ram! Or the Goat! Or the Sheep! Even though Chinese New Year has already passed and school has resumed, according to the Lunar New Year calendar, it is still technically Chinese New Year. In an attempt to keep the festivities going, I’d like to share with you all what I love about Chinese New Year.

1. You are entitled to buy new clothes for CNY.

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Tradition has it that when a new year comes, you need new clothes to go with it. Ask any Asian grandma. She’ll give you money for it.

2. You are also entitled to EAT, EAT and EAT. Because food puns.

Because more food means prosperity, and that is of paramount importance when it comes to family gatherings. Also, all the food you eat are puns for prosperity and a good year ahead. So you’re entitled to eat it. Farewell, diet!


For example, pan fried sweet glutinous rice cakes, otherwise known as 年糕 (neen gou), is a pun for”高”, or“步步高陞“ which means rising up to the top for working adults, or growing taller for little kids. In order to make this pun even more punny, some people leave a box of Neen Gou for it to ferment and catch mould so that the Gou will “grow”. This is meant to be a good sign for business people, as the Chinese pronunciation of fermentation is 發酵, which also sounds like making big bucks in Cantonese.

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Another example is a dish that consists of dried oysters and black fern. In Chinese, it is called “髮菜蠔豉” (Faat Choi Ho See), which sounds like “發財好市” (also Faat Choi Ho See), which means a good economy and making lots of money.

3. Lion dance and Dragons – UNICORNS, EVEN!

According to Chinese mythology, the actual purpose of celebrating Chinese New Year is to scare off the mythical monster “年“ (Nian), which means “the (old) year”. In order to do that, people create loud noises by hitting drums and burning fireworks, accompanied by traditional “lion dances”, “dragon dances” and “qeelin / Chinese unicorn (“麒麟”) to scare off the Nian monster.

4. Flower Markets FTW.


Chinese New Year lasts officially for ten days, but it’s not the celebration that’s so long. The prep work also takes days. It’s the custom to fill your house with bouquets and bouquets of flowers (see: cherry blossoms, water lilies, etc.). So where do you get these flowers? The flower market, of course! You’d think that they will only sell flowers in the market, but over the years, flower markets have become a kind of fair market where you get flowers, food and cute little creations (some are even products that are for mocking politicians!) On the nights before the first day of the new year, families visit the flower market together to pick up flowers they like, while kids play in the game booths. It’s a beautiful scene, and surely one that brings much joy for the participant.

5. RED PACKETS!! CASH!! (I mean, meeting family and friends…)

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Ultimately, Chinese New Year is all about gathering with your family and friends and sharing the very first (happy) moments of the new year with them. The Chinese is a group that values filial piety greatly, so Chinese New Year is also a time for little kids to pay their respects to their elders by wishing them words of greetings and good fortune. In return, they get red envelopes (with cash) from married elders. FUN TIMES!!