What to know when celebrating and feasting this Chinese New Year

On the surface, things seem almost normal in Singapore. Shopping centres are crowded, people are out and about (with masks on), kids are back at school (with Safe Management Measures in place) and daily life continues as usual (sans live entertainment).

Soon, many of us will be celebrating Chinese New Year from Feb 12-26. But it won’t be exactly the same even as we gather to enjoy the festivities. From dining to visiting relatives, this is huat you need to know when celebrating the joyous occasion while staying safe.

1. You can receive up to eight unique visitors at any one time. If you have plenty of relatives, you’d need to welcome them on different days or at different times. Thankfully, there are 15 days to choose from.

2. It’s not law but visits should be limited to two other households a day, and preferably only to family members.  

3. Keep your social circle small and avoid mixing with multiple groups.

4. As much as possible, try to connect with family and friends virtually instead of visiting them.

5. If you are dining out, expect the usual safe distancing measures we are all familiar with by now. Remember to check in using SafeEntry or use the TraceTogether token or app.

6. Your lo hei experience will be a little different compared to previous years. Everyone is required to keep their masks on during the tossing of yu sheng, and no shouting is allowed although you may still recite auspicious phrases for the new year.

7. Masks can only be removed when eating or drinking.

, What to know when celebrating and feasting this Chinese New Year
Lo hei safely within the charming, festive domes set up at Capitol Singapore.

8. Your yu sheng may not be served the usual way depending on the restaurant. Typically, staff will recite sayings while preparing the dish in front of diners. This year, some restaurants have chosen not to do so; instead servers will simply introduce the dish and ingredients. Others may not even prepare the dish and will serve it ready to toss. They may portion out the salad for each diner after they have completed the lo hei, or let diners serve themselves using serving spoons provided. Check with your restaurant on what measures it has chosen to adopt.

9. If you are celebrating at home, there are many more takeaway and/or delivery options this year. Places like Goodwood Park Hotel offer exclusive takeaway menus while others like Yi by Jereme Leung have yu sheng delivered in specially designed boxes for convenience and ease. Even modern European restaurant Tablescape will be bringing back their popular Foie Gras Yu Sheng Platter for takeaways, so guests may enjoy a Western twist on the classic dish in the comforts of home.

10. Try giving e-hongbaos. To complement social distancing measures, digital red packets are encouraged by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and major banks. Not only are they safer, they are more environmentally friendly too (it helps reduce wastage from printing new notes). Funds are transferred directly into the recipient’s bank account via PayNow. Contact your bank for more information on how to send e-hongbaos.

Get more details from the Singapore Government’s official website here.