Your Petit Guide To Lunar New Year Rituals
Everything you need to know about Lunar New Year rituals and what the locals do during the festivities!
Oui! It’s that time of the year again.
One of the many great things about living in Hong Kong is that we get to celebrate both Chinese and Western holidays. Lunar New Year is obviously one of our favourite festivals of the year, and since the Year of the Rabbit is just around the corner, it’s not too late to get prepared and welcome the new year with a fresh, prosperous start! Here’s a look at the rituals locals would do every Lunar New Year:
1. Enjoy a festive, reunion feast with your loved ones
There’s nothing more important than being with your loved ones and celebrate the end of the year with your family. The locals would gather for a festive dinner on the eve of Lunar New Year and enjoy dishes such as poon choi, a traditional Cantonese casserole filled with layers of extravagant ingredients such as abalone, prawns, chicken, dried oysters and more. The dish is associated with bringing luck, fortune and wealth for the coming year.
2. Get your Lunar New Year snack box ready!
Pull out your Lunar New Year snack box when your invite your loved ones over for some quality time and celebrate a year filled with prosperity and good luck. Known as chuen hap, the snack box symbolises “togetherness” and bringing everyone together to celebrate the new year ahead. The box also comes with different compartments for you to fill with treats that have suspicious meanings.
Fill it to the brim with candies and traditional new year snacks such as candied lotus seeds, winter melon candy, and savoury and fried snacks such as melon seeds, and mini deep-fried sesame balls. If you’d like to have less clutter in the kitchen, you can also use RICE’s melamine plates and cups to serve your snacks when guests come to visit!
3. Get squeaky clean before new year arrives
Have you noticed small bouquets of leaves available for sale at the wet markets right before Lunar New Year? Those leaves are actually pomelo leaves that are used for infusion. Simply boil a big pot of hot water with the pomelo leaves, let it cool down and splash yourself from head to toe with it! Chinese believe that the pomelo leaves infused water could help wash off all your bad luck and juju in this year, so you can welcome the new year all freshened up and ready to welcome a fresh start.
For your little ones, you can get them excited about this new year ritual by getting them the super fun and colourful bathbombs from Nailmatic Kids. These bathbombs are made with natural ingredients such as chamomile extracts, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamin E that are gentle and moisturising for your petit’s skin.
4. It’s time to Marie Kondo your home
/collections/nobodinoz-toy-bagA huge ritual before Lunar New Year is spring cleaning! Locals would usually clean the entire home from head to toe on the second last day of the year. If you find yourself overwhelmed with your belongings at home, it might just be the right time to declutter and reorganise everything. For stylish storage options, we love nobodinoz toy bags (they’re great for storing your dirty laundry too), rattan baskets from RICE, and fruit-shaped braided basket from ferm Living. Who says storage boxes have to be all white and square?
5. Eat to your heart content with traditional new year cakes
Turnip cakes, taro cakes, water chestnuts cakes and Chinese New Year cakes (Nian Gao) are some of the classic Chinese New Year staples that we love munching on during Lunar New Year. Locals often grow up with fond memories of their grandmas making turnip cakes at home. The cake is made with a generous amount of turnips, Chinese preserved pork sausages and dried shrimps, and made pan-fried until they’re crispy and golden brown.
If it’s your little one’s first time having Lunar New Year cake and they’ve just started learning how to eat on their own, consider getting this dining set from Miniware. We also love RICE’s cheerful melamine plates, and they’re perfect for hosting guests.
6. Give out lai see, aka red packets
It’s not Lunar New Year without giving / receiving a bunch of red packets! Red packets are given out to bestow blessing and wishing luck. Go to the bank to exchange a stack of freshly printed, mint note and slide in one into a nice red envelope.
The red packets are usually given out to children and any young, unmarried family members while bosses also give out red packets to their employees as well. It’s important to greet the giver with lucky phrases, such as “Gung Hei Fat Choi” (sending good fortune your way!) and “Lung Ma Jing Sun” (wishing you good health). The phrase “Ching Chun Seung Ju” is also highly popular among the ladies as it means “wishing you looking youthful as always”.
7. Wear bright, colourful outfits
While stylish mums might go for monochrome style outfits, try wearing bright colours during Chinese New Year! We also have a range of Lunar New Year outfits for your little ones. The French designer brand Tang’ Roulou puts a Parisian twist on traditional Chinese kidswear and we’re sure your petit will look adorable while celebrating the festivities in them.
8. Make sure nothing is broken
One of the things to avoid during Lunar New Year is to avoid breaking things. If your little one is still small and just started learning to eat on their own, give them a set of self-feeding meal set from Miniware. They’re made of food-grade silicone, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking bowls and plates.
9. Decorate your home to bring in good fortune
After spring cleaning, locals would go to the flower market and bring flowers such as peach blossoms and pussy willows home! You can also adorn your home with pots of mandarin and kumquats that would symbolise luck and prosperity. If you’d like to have something lucky that would last throughout the entire year, this nightlight from Konges Sløjd LED is the perfect addition to your little one’s bedside!
You can also give a go and write your own red papers and put them up around the house! Red papers are written with auspicious phrases and are often put up on the walls and at the door to bring in a year of luck, wealth, health, prosperity and safety.