Breeze through the Year of the Rooster with these essential tips.
Avoid the crowds and plan a fuss-free reunion dinner this year with convenient delivery services.
You have seen the lights and lanterns and heard the festive tunes carrying through shopping malls and supermarkets. And if that is not enough to clue you in, the assortment of rooster paraphernalia should. The annual Lunar New Year celebration is just around the corner.
However, despite the bright colours and seemingly jaunty music, some Singaporeans view the 15-day event as more of an aggravation than a celebration. Crowded shopping malls, snaking lines at the bank and having to awkwardly sit around a room people listening to your elders subtly – or unabashedly, depending on your family – boast about the achievements of their offspring are just some reasons to drag your feet.
While we can’t help you much with the latter, we have a couple of tips on how to better prepare for the upcoming New Year.
1. Look the Part
What better way to silence the naysayers than to look impeccably put together? Feel extra smug by patronising social enterprises that make a positive impact through their businesses. Get a manicure at The Nail Social where underprivileged women find employment and training to achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency. You can also shop for clothes from these sustainable fashion brands. Don’t forget to incorporate red in your New Year get-up for it represents much more than simply good fortune; it also expresses happiness, beauty as well as success in Chinese culture. Add a pop of red to your outfit with this peony pouch from Indie Mama – a social enterprise that provides employment to the economically-disadvantaged.
2. Get New Notes
Certain trips to the bank are inevitable. The annual pre-Chinese New Year pilgrimage for crisp new notes is one of them. If you’re not already expected to be handing out red packets, count yourself fortunate. But for those bracing themselves for the lines at the bank, don’t fret! Reserve your new notes online with DBS or visit any of their 22 Pop-up ATMs. If you’d still like to head to the bank, DBS also has SMS ‘Q’, an innovative service that notifies customers via text when they are ready to be served. How it works: simply text ‘Q’ to the number of the branch you’re intending to visit and you’ll be notified when your turn is near. Trust us, your parents will thank you for this.
3. Rack up the Snacks
It isn’t Chinese New Year without your hands constantly full with something to snack on. Pineapple tarts and ‘love letters’ are undeniably tempting, but there are snacks that are guilt-free and good on the conscience. BoxGreen’s snacks are nutritionist-approved and come in individual packs. It has also introduced a limited edition Cockadoodledoo Box featuring festive treats like matcha pineapple munchies to celebrate the year of the Rooster. A portion of the company’s proceeds also goes towards providing meals for the less privileged in Singapore.
4. Don’t Discount the Sales
Take advantage of Chinese New Year sales and promotions across the island. Better yet, shop from the comfort of your home with e-commerce sites like Lazada, and enjoy attractive deals when paying with credit cards. If you prefer to head to the malls, we recommend using credit and debit cards that give you cash credits this Chinese New Year.
5. Speak the Language
Most of us would know common Chinese New Year greetings such as 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè or Happy New Year). Take it up a notch this year with these New Year blessings guaranteed to impress. Here are five phrases with their hanyu pinyin pronunciations and meanings to help you:
心想事成 (xīn xiǎng shì chéng): May all your wishes come true
岁岁平安 (suì suì píng ān): May you have peace year after year
年年有馀 (nián nián yǒu yú): Wishing you prosperity every year
合家欢乐 (hé jiā huān lè): Joy to the whole family
金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng): May your gold and jade fill the halls
6. Fuss-Free Dining
Half the effort of Chinese New Year goes into preparing the reunion dinner feast on the eve of the celebration. From menu planning to shopping for ingredients, the meal demands a massive effort to ensure everyone is well-fed and happy to usher in a prosperous new year. We say, give the elders a break and order in this year. Reunion steamboat dinners are now a breeze with home delivery services from Hai Di Lao and HappyPot.
7. Give Digital AngPaos
Skip the queues at the bank and cut the environment some slack by going paperless this year. DBS PayLah! is a mobile app that makes it convenient to send and receive eAngPaos from wherever you are. Simply download the app and register for your DBS PayLah! mobile wallet. Non-DBS and POSB customers are eligible for the app too. It’s a nifty way to get your siblings and relatives living abroad to join in on the Chinese New Year festivities.
8. Give Back
While many associate Christmas with the season of giving, the very notion of gifting and receiving is rooted in the core of the Chinese New Year celebrations, which some believe to have started as early as the Shang Dynasty in 1766 BC to 1122 BC. The act of giving during Chinese New Year is as much, if not more, about passing on good wishes and luck for the coming year as it is about the exchange of material goods or cash. So don’t forget to give back what you have had the fortune to receive this year. Here are some of the charity organisations you may easily donate to through the set-up of DBS PayLah!.
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