Eight Ways to Celebrate this Chinese New Year Safely at Home
Are you ready for a safe-distanced Chinese New Year in 2021? Even with masks on and a limited number of relatives to celebrate with, you can still recreate the joyous occasion of yesteryears in a safe manner.
House gatherings are restricted to eight persons and visitations limited to two households a day, but people are coming up with creative ways to liven up the party as we ring in the new year. Who would have thought that those sound effect apps our kids liked to play with could come in handy for a reunion dinner or that sending digital red packets could be so chic?
Here are eight ways to celebrate this Chinese New Year
① First things first, sweep away the bad luck (and germs!) together
Whether or not you are having guests over this year, it is a great time as any to do the traditional house spring cleaning. Get your kids to help in the tidying up by turning it into a game— see who can wipe a chair the fastest or mop the floor in creative patterns. Putting the detergent into cute soap bottles can also make cleaning fun for kids. If you have the time, a little decluttering can also help your home feel more conducive and clean— not to mention less surface area for dust to collect.
② Host a virtual house party
If your usual New Year’s Eve 团圆 family reunion dinner gathering is larger than eight persons, you might try splitting into two or three houses and Zoom-ing or Skype-ing in to recreate the atmosphere. Remember to have your laptop, speaker and charger prepared on a pedestal so that everyone can see and hear each other. You can even take this opportunity to connect with overseas relatives and commemorate the special occasion with a family group screenshot.
③ Ready your phone-powered Lo Hei wishes
We may not be able to say our prosperity wishes when we toss our Lo Hei or Yusheng this year, but we can still hear them loud and clear— right from our phones! DJ Beng made this webapp with pre-recordings of common Chinese New Year wishes in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and other dialects. There’s even one for a customisable “Yaaaaam-seng!”
④ Fill your eAng Baos with love and blessings
It’s time for Aunty and Uncle to up our tech game. When relatives’ kids coming over to 拜年 visit the elders this year, you can impress and bless by sending virtual red packets with DBS PayLah! eAng Bao, GrabPay Angbao or via PayNow. It’s as simple as tapping a few buttons and watching the packet woosh over to your nephews and nieces’ screens. To make it more personal, you can send a digital handwritten message on your usual messaging app.
⑤ Upcycle those unused paper Ang Baos into CNY decorations
Now that most of us are switching to eAng Baos, it’s a bit of a waste to throw the empty red packets into the recycling bin just like that. Instead, try your hand at crafting some lanterns or hanging fish and pineapples with the kids.
⑥ Prepack homemade snacks for each guest
Since it’s only a small group you have to cook for, why not try out a new recipe or bake your own New Year goodies with your children? I’ve personally found Guai Shu Shu’s recipes quite reliable over the years, or you may like to try some modern twists on the traditional treats to shake things up. To minimise sharing of a common cookie tin, you can pack the biscuits into individual bags for each guest, like a party favour or a little door gift!
⑦ Play games to liven up a small gathering
To entertain the kids who probably miss playing with their cousins, you can play small group games like Heads Up, Pictionary or make your own Guess the CNY Lyrics game by playing and pausing popular CNY songs or vintage songs for the older folks at random places and continuing it a cappella.
⑧ Tell traditional stories and recount childhood adventures
As the night dwindles and the hour-hand nears twelve, everyone is likely sitting quietly around the table, bellies full and sipping on tea. Take this opportunity to tell traditional CNY tales, like the stories of 年 Nian and 岁 Sui, or recount your own childhood (mis)adventures. Children love listening to stories of their parents’ childhood days; it gives them a sense of connection and relatability— that is, if they are still awake at the turn of the New Year.
I hope you have a wonderful time with your dearest family members this season. And as everyone says, Happy 牛 (Niu) Year! Have an Ox-picious celebration with your loved ones this Lunar New Year!
Communications & Development Executive
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