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Chinese New Year

- Kathryn


Nihao (hello)!

Full of lion dancing, fire crackers, hongbaos (红包), and lots and lots of food, two weeks ago was Chinese New Year.

This silly photo is of my sister, Joslyn, from when she went on a school trip with the rest of her 2nd grade class to Singapore’s Chinatown.

Family time:

For Americans, it’s Christmas or maybe Thanksgiving when the whole family gets together, shares stories, and has a feast. In Chinese culture, the new year, or Spring Festival, is a chance for the family to get together and celebrate. For many locals in Singapore (74% ethnically Chinese), this is the only time of the year where they take more than one day off of work.


Hongbaos, literally “red packets”, are red envelopes with money inside given by married couples to the younger generation. At my school, kids get hongbao with chocolate coins in them.

Lion dances:

Traditionally, lion dancers were trained in martial arts and would go around to stores, bringing good luck. Storekeepers would tuck a hongbao in some lettuce and tie it up really high. The “lions” would then have to show off their talents in order to reach the lettuce and the money hidden inside. This practice is still common all over the world, just not as intense as before. Lion dancing has become modernized and a performance itself (without the tricky lettuce-grabbing) is considered good luck. Superstitions aside, they’re also really fun to watch. Here’s a video I found of a modernized lion dance performed on Orchard Road, the main shopping district of Singapore.



(xinniankuaile/ happy new year)


(gongxifacai/ may you be prosperous)

万事如意 !

(wanshiruyi/ may all go well with you)

Next year, I encourage you to head towards a Chinatown near you. Even if you don’t live in Asia, a lot of the festival is celebrated the same way all over and it’s interesting to see the little differences between each Chinese population.

That’s all I have for now,

再见 (zaijian/goodbye) teentravelers !





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