In about an hour, Singapore will be celebrating Chinese New Year 2013. This is the most important festival for the Chinese and Day 1 and Day 2 are both public holidays here. As Chinese New Year falls on a Sunday this year, Day 3 is also declared a public holiday. That means more mini time for me. Happiness!
The Chinese character on the red packet means snake, painted in gold because this is the year of the Golden Snake.
Tomorrow when I visit my relatives, I will be bearing some mandarin oranges or tangerines and red packets to give away. It is a tradition to bring tangerines because in Mandarin, 桔 also rhymes with 吉which means auspicious.
And we wear red for the same reason. That's my brother's family with Nat. Only reds were allowed in this picture.
Chinese New Year's Eve however has been the more important day for us since about 13 years ago because on this day, everyone gathers at my parents' home for our reunion meal. This is Xan helping to prepare our lunch.
As my brother-in-law is a Malaysian, this is also the day Shir and her family drive home to Yongpeng, Malaysia to be with her in-laws to celebrate the new year with them.
Right after lunch, we usually prepare ourselves for a pretty elaborate ceremony to honour and give thanks to our parents and elders. We wish them a good year, good health and good fortune. Our nieces and nephews have also been trained to wish for us, their aunts, good looks. In return, the elders hand red packets to their children and grandchildren for good luck.
I say an elaborate ceremony because preceding all that wishing is a skit that the children and grandchildren will have to put up. This is our way of welcoming the new year with laughter. This year's skit revolved around snakes of course. The story is about 2 snakes (guess who) who had become quite a nuisance to the village. In order to tame the snakes, 2 beautiful fairies were summoned to catch these snakes and make them repent.
Here are the 2 fairies, Tasha and Qesha with their equally beautiful make-up artists, SuZ and Shir. I was tasked with inventing the story, which usually is quite lacking in substance. It is often the make up and the acting that will be the more important elements of the skit.
That was the narrator directing the snakes.The 2 snakes were tasked with three things to do before they could be pardoned. 1st, they had to find 2 oranges, then they had to find the 2 most generous, wonderful and beautiful elders and then wish them. This they did and everyone lives happily ever after.
Happy Chinese New Year, everyone.
May we all have a glorious, golden year with
good health, good fortune, good luck and of course, good looks!