As we welcome another Lunar New Year, many will be celebrating for the first time under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While pandemic fatigue may have set in and there are continued whispers of a recession heading this way, life still does and must go on. People who want to celebrate Chinese New Year this year will need to adjust to preparing for it and conducting themselves. Here are 5 practical ways to celebrate Chinese culture and traditions while staying safe.
1. Get rid of negative energy and scale down the spending
To welcome good fortune in a year of uncertainty, start by getting rid of "negative energy" through removing unused items and arrange the rest in dedicated places using the right organising solutions. In previous years, households would have spent on meals and snacks to feed up to 30 extended family members; the year 2021 will instil the habit of buying less since there should be fewer people present. The same applies to other typical expenses such as decorations – moderation is key. By thinking about how to accommodate the new norm's unique circumstances, families can still enjoy good meals catered, enjoy the company of loved ones and even hand out cookies to neighbours at their door.
2. Create a virtual reception
With the advantages of technology, you can now virtually chat or visit family members by video calling each other through applications such as WeChat, FaceTime, Zoom or Skype.
- Prepare your digital devices with necessary apps and check that your camera, microphone, and speakers are working well.
- Find a comfortable and well-lit spot in your home where your family members can gather.
- Put up some festive decorations in the background.
- Set up a tripod, a stand, or a makeshift stand to prop up the digital device.
- Run a few practices meets with your family before calling any extended members.
3. Prepare red packets
During Chinese New Year, people give red packets. Traditionally, these red packets are given by married couples to unmarried individuals, regardless of age. It is also a courtesy for married adult children to present these red packets to their parents.
To maintain a safe distance and for those separated from loved ones, use the following methods:
- Fund transfers between banks
- Social messaging apps such as WeChat
- E-wallet apps such as Apple Pay
4. Have bonding activities while practising social distancing
Creating the Chinese New Year cheer through the house decoration can be fun for the whole family and great bonding. Making simple origami out of red packets, hanging up lanterns or drawing your very own couplets all spark happiness and welcome good fortune – a simple joy for a tumultuous beginning. Take the time to engage in fun games with your kids to encourage them to learn more about Chinese culture.
Do not forget to remind everyone to wear masks when they are outside or chatting with others.
5. End the night with care packages!
During Chinese New Year, it is considered auspicious to provide gifts as it attracts luck and prosperity. While you may not gift people the usual gifts, you can still show the love and affection to your loved ones to stay safe during a pandemic. Get everyone excited with Mandarin oranges, savoury and sweet treats, cute hand sanitisers, dried and canned foods, a Chinese tea set and Ox-themed face masks to symbolise the year of the Ox.
We wish everyone a blessed Year of the Ox! Stay healthy and stay wealthy!
Struggling with gift-giving during Chinese New Year? Here are a few tips on how the right gift can build a strong relationship.