How To Celebrate The Lunar New Year

It’s hard to keep up with cultural customs when you don’t understand why you’re even following them. This Lunar New Year, we give some insight into the meaning behind popular traditions and how you can easily add them into your daily schedules in the festive month. 

The history of the Lunar New Year spans millenniums, with long-held traditions that are still practiced to this day. But in this modern era, enthusiasm in following tradition seems to have become merely skin-deep. We still enjoy dressing up in new clothes and exchanging red packets, but how many of us are aware of the meaning behind such practices?

Here, we bring you a breakdown of the key Lunar New Year festivities and their significance, with simple but meaningful activities that you can weave into your own celebrations from now through the Lunar New Year, including special festive days like ren ri on day seven, and the Lantern Festival on day 15, so that you can experience the full celebratory affair of the season.

D-2: Get a haircut and do some shopping

We’re just a few sleeps away from the New Year, so if you haven’t gotten a haircut, now’s your chance because doing so at the start of the lunar year signifies the ridding of good fortune, which we absolutely don’t want.

Whether it’s to trim away dried and split ends, or to chop off a chunk of your locks, a quality haircut goes a long way. That’s why we recommend entrusting your mane to experienced stylists at the prestigious beauty salon, Vintage Studio.

While you’re at it, why not spice things up with some colour? If you’re feeling adventurous, try picking a lucky hair colour based on your zodiac sign predictions. Don’t worry, you’ll be in great hands at Vintage Studio, which is now offering a single-tone colouring for all hair lengths at just $88. You read that right; those with longer hair, you’re in for a treat!

Vintage Studio’s outlet at Westgate flaunts a Victorian style with top-grade amenities for all patrons. Image courtesy of Vintage Studio.

As with many customs around this time, buying new things signifies new beginnings and you’re just in time to squeeze in some last-minute shopping for new clothes and decorations. That said, make sure to take advantage of the festive sales to stock up on essentials that you’ll need throughout the year.

Don’t forget to prep for your upcoming reunion dinner as well. No matter what you’re having, meat is a must—plenty of it. In the past, meat was typically reserved for special occasions, so on Lunar New Year, it became a tradition to prepare precious livestock for consumption. Although we are now blessed with an abundance of meat in our daily lives, many like to splurge on better quality meats to celebrate the season.

No place offers a better variety of premium meat than Don Don Donki, and if you happen to be having a hotpot this year, get your hands on the A4 Wagyu shabu-shabu in your favourite cut with a discount of up to $27*.

*Promotions ends 2 February 2023. Terms and Conditions apply.

Get a taste of Don Don Donki’s array of tender steaks and succulent Yakiniku cuts. Image courtesy of Don Don Donki.
Disney-themed gold figurines and more merchandise to be bought at retailers in CapitaLand malls. Image courtesy of SK Jewellery and Havaianas.

For a more festive retail experience, visit the multi-sensory festive display featuring Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Friends sparkle in an energetic lion and dragon dance at Plaza Singapura and IMM for memorable photo opportunities with the family.

Also, be sure to check out Disney’s Year of the Rabbit retail pop-ups and participating stores across CapitaLand malls islandwide. Grab yourself a matching new year outfit, or perhaps a cute Disney collectible. Whatever it is, you’ll be spoilt for choice with limited edition Disney-themed merchandise. 

D-1 (Lunar New Year’s eve): Have a reunion dinner without restrictions

Defrost the shabu-shabu and gather all your closest kin for the highly-anticipated reunion dinner that is not limited by the COVID-19 safety measures of the past. Families sit together at a round table, representing unity, and eat plenty of symbolic foods including fish, sticky rice cakes (nian gao), spring rolls, and hotpot chock full of round ingredients like fishballs.

But what’s a hotpot without a hot pot? It’s not too late to secure a good deal, because the one-stop culinary haven, ToTT, is now offering up to 50% off selected kitchenware*, including a stainless steel induction pot and gas cooker by Japanese household brand, Iwatani. There’s even a discount on gas cartridges should you require backups to keep the feast going into the night.

*Promotion ends 5 February. Terms and Conditions apply.

There’s always room for dessert, but the humble tau huay is likely low on your list of foods to eat during Lunar New Year, with goodies such as pineapple tarts and love letters stealing the limelight. But that’s exactly the point! According to Chinese customs, beancurd is eaten as an act of humility in order to be rewarded by the Jade Emperor, aka the ruler of Heaven.

Besides, with so many variations nowadays, beancurd doesn’t have to be boring. You can mix and match your own bowl of beancurd at BlackBall, an authentic Taiwanese dessert spot that offers an appetising array of toppings from taro balls to ice cream.


Customise your very own bowl of delectable dessert with a sweet base of beancurd and grass jelly. Image courtesy of BlackBall.

Day 1 (Lunar New Year): Celebrate New Year’s Day

Alas, we've reached the first day of the new year! On this day, the city comes alive with an eruption of lion dancing, orange exchanging, well wishing, and of course, red packet gifting.

It’s interesting to see how these traditions have adapted with time and geography. Traditionally, red packets. or angbaos, are cash-filled envelopes distributed by parents and married couples. But following the growing trend of cashless transactions e-angbaos have been avidly adopted by newer generations of red-packet-givers; not only are they convenient, they’re environmentally friendly as well.

If that’s something up your alley, you can even send a digital eCapitaVoucher angbao to your loved ones this festive season. What’s more, when you gift or purchase an eCapitaVoucher of at least $20, you’ll receive an attractive cashback of 1,888 STAR$*. Gifting has never sounded more rewarding!

Choose from four adorable Disney-themed eCapitaVoucher angbao on the CapitaStar App.

*Terms and Conditions apply.

With e-angbaos, you won’t have to stand in line at the bank to exchange newly printed cash for red packets, so you’ll have ample time to embrace the community’s festive spirit, whether it’s at your local Getai show, bazaar. or even Funan’s art activation, Creative Intersections: In the Year of the Rabbit, that features works of 12 local artists, including brand collaborations across the mall from now till 5 February.

With e-angbaos, you won’t have to stand in line at the bank to exchange newly printed cash for red packets, so you’ll have ample time to embrace the community’s festive spirit, whether it’s at your local Getai show, bazaar. or even Funan’s art activation, Creative Intersections: In the Year of the Rabbit, that features works of 12 local artists, including brand collaborations across the mall from now till 5 February.

Enjoy art like this one by Cheryl Goh and other artists at Funan’s third edition of Creative Intersections.

Day 2: Go visiting

Ready to show off your snazzy new clothes to family and friends?

Here’s a checklist of essentials to bring along to make the most of your day:

•   Mandarin oranges in even numbers for exchanging.

•   A camera to document your time with loved ones, and of course to update your Instagram feed with a fresh OOTD (outfit of the day). One of our favourites is the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Camera Printer, a handy digital polaroid camera that also comes with audio playback so you can capture a complete memory.

•   A stylish yet practical bag to carry it all, especially for those whose dresses frustratingly don’t come with pockets.

The Instax Mini LiPlay is ideal for capturing memories on-the-go. Image courtesy of Fujifilm.
Yu Ba Fang’s signature pan-fried dumplings are perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Image courtesy of Yu Ba Fang.

Day 3: Show gratitude to your elders

An important value in Chinese culture is respect for elders, which is why it’s customary to pay respects to ancestors and relatives throughout the year.

In line with taking intentional actions towards prosperity in this time, consider gifting the elders in your life some flowers for good luck. Red peonies and purple orchids are two auspicious flowers that are both beautiful and symbolic.

Premium flower shop, Secret Garden, has all these and more gorgeous blooms in their collection, available in hand bouquets, table arrangements, and flower stands, perfect for ringing in the Lunar New Year.

Additionally, you can show gratitude to your elders through the sharing of food, something deeply ingrained in many Asian cultures. Another festive food to try is dumplings, a delicious way to channel good wealth for the new year as they look similar to ingots (ancient Chinese money).

A quick trip to Yu Ba Fang is all it takes to savour a wealth of delicious Chinese dumplings. Try them and you’ll be craving for more in no time. Thankfully, you can purchase frozen dumplings that can be heated easily in just eight minutes. Whether they truly bring good fortune or not, dumplings certainly make happy bellies!

Day 7: Commemorate People’s Day

If you think the Lunar New Year celebrations can’t get any better, just wait till you find out that you have a second birthday! Well, sort of. The seventh day of the first lunar month is known as humanity’s birthday based on Chinese mythology. Nevertheless, don’t go demanding for another birthday gift as this day is typically celebrated by eating congee with seven types of vegetables.

Nobody does congee better than MUN ZUK. Their rice is cooked in a collagen-rich broth and filled to the brim with scrumptiously nutritious ingredients like black herbal chicken—we’re drooling just thinking about it. 

MUN ZUK specialises in hearty collagen broth congee with luxurious ingredients. Image courtesy of MUN ZUK.

Day 15: Celebrate the Lantern Festival

The feasting doesn’t end there! Wrap up the Lunar New Year with a bang by celebrating the day of lanterns and glutinous rice balls (tang yuan). The highlight of the occasion is, evidently, the lighting of lanterns in a time of familial and community bonding.

For that reason, tang yuan filled with sweet fillings like black sesame and peanuts are eaten during this day to symbolise family reunion. For a heartwarming wind down from the new year celebrations, why not have the whole family make and enjoy tang yuan together?

Just like that, a week of celebrating the Lunar New Year has come to an end. We hope that you’ve found some traditions worth keeping, and continue to practice them in your own special way. We’re already looking forward to doing it all over again next year!

From all of us at CapitaLand, we wish you a prosperous Lunar New Year!

You might also like...