Chinese New Year is around the corner. It's just 2 days away from now. Many people have taken their leaves today, makes offices, MRT, and buses emptier.
The above was the article taken from My Paper daily bi-lingual newspaper published today, regarding the hong bao. Hong bao (in Chinese) means red packet. On the New Year day, usually people will have family gathering included all family members and relatives. In Singapore itself, people will bring two pieces of Mandarin oranges, to be given to the family they visit, and they will be given it back before going back home, as Mandarin oranges implying 'da ji da li', means abundance of luck and great prosperity.
People will greet 'Gong Xi Fa Cai' plus other positive words to wish the other parties. E.g. Shen ti jian kang, wan shi ru yi, means hope you have a good health and all things will go smoothly.
For married couple, they will give 'hong bao' to children and single (sometimes adult single may receive one as well, as a symbol of luck). So the hong bao mentioned in the article above, means red packet, filled with money. Hope the article can be read clearly.
It is a big festive in Singapore, as majority of Singaporean are Chinese. During the first two days, usually offices, shops, are all closed, not opened for business. There is a belief that it's better not to work on the first day, as it's a day for celebration and receiving good luck. So, the night before, the wet market will open until morning time and it is the time where Singaporean purchase their food stock for the first few days of the New Year. Shopping mall will usually close too, and open only for fast food restaurant, where its workers are usually from the other races. That's the only place that might be available for food, or some other Indian or Malay food stalls.
When visiting relative house, the host will usually prepare the Chinese New Year snacks and tidbits, which usually consists of: bak kwa (Chinese salty-sweet dried meat similar to jerky), pineapple tarts (symbolises prosperity and good luck) - or called Huang Li (in Mandarin) or Ong Lai (in Hokkian), variety of can or boxed drinks (including beer), etc.
Below is another article, also taken from today edition of My Paper.
Sometimes, the host will serve lunch or dinner. It depends. Some will serve variety of Chinese dishes, and some will serve steamboat. Steamboat is usually more common to have during the Chinese New Year's Eve, where family members will sit around table together and have the food from the same pot shared to feel the closeness and the warmth feeling of the families.
Below is the sample photo of the steamboat.
This year, I'll have a reunion dinner at home, steamboat. But the next day I'll fly to 'City of Joy' - as per what my friend has told me - Calcutta, India. So, I would like to wish everyone 'Gong Xi Fa Cai! Xin Nian Kuai Le, Shen Ti Jian Kang, Wan Shi Ru Yi. Tian Tian Kuai Le, Huat ahhhhh!!!!!
And below is my first Hong Bao received from the company where I work, complete with 4D number that I'm going to buy now. Haha... wish me luck OK? Huat ahhh!!!! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!! :)