CNY 2023: Celebrations in the New Normal
Huat ah! Chinese New Year (CNY) 2023 is just around the corner. Everyone has been looking forward to this CNY—and it’s not only because it’s the Year of the Rabbit. CNY 2023 will be the first CNY after Covid-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
After two years of fairly muted CNY celebrations, you may be wondering whether CNY norms have evolved in this post-Covid era. What can you do or not do in the new normal? We have compiled a list of 8 most frequently asked questions to satiate your curiosity!
1. Can we have extremely large CNY gatherings?
Extremely large CNY gatherings are permitted now. Whether it is your entire family clan coming together for a reunion dinner or your company celebrating CNY for team bonding purposes, nothing is off the table. Restaurants have started accepting reservations since December 2022, with some corporate groups settling the bill in advance to save 1% on GST.
2. Can I visit many houses in one day?
There is no official limit as to how many houses you can visit in one day. With the first day of CNY (22 January 2023) falling on a Sunday, the following Tuesday is a public holiday. As such, you can spread out your visitations over three full days.
For your peace of mind, it’s best to use an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kit before visiting elderly folk. It also goes without saying that you should stay home if you are feeling unwell or experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.
3. Do I need to wear a mask to and fro / during visitations?
It depends on your mode of transport when you go for your CNY visitations. According to government guidelines, you are not mandated to wear a mask except on trains, buses, at underground MRT stations and air-conditioned bus interchanges. Mask-wearing is optional, but highly encouraged when taking taxis.
During visitations, please wear a mask out of courtesy if your host requests you to.
4. Should I shake hands as a form of greeting during CNY?
It is better for you not to shake hands—germs can be passed very easily from one individual to another via the custom of shaking hands. Also, some people you meet may still be fearful of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
You can try alternative forms of greeting such as fist and elbow bumps. For a contactless option, do a fist and palm salute while saying “Gong Xi Fa Cai”!
5. How should I give out red packets (also known as Angbaos)?
You should seriously consider switching to e-Angbaos. Instead of stuffing dollar notes into a red packet as you did in time past, you can do fund transfers via PayNow. For those of you who still wish to stick to tradition while embracing technology, DBS offers a hybrid option called QR Gift. Recipients can scan the QR code on the gift card to receive the pre-loaded amount.
The benefits of using e-Angbaos are plenty. You no longer have to join the snaking queue at the bank for new notes. What’s more, you are free to give any kind of denomination—there’s no need to round up to the nearest dollar. Besides such convenience, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is encouraging the use of e-Angbaos for environmental sustainability.
6. How do I ensure good hygiene practices when serving food to guests?
You are encouraged to serve food in individual disposable portions as opposed to serving it on a common plate. This is to minimise any potential spread of infection. Furthermore, use clean gloves when you’re handling food.
7. Can I shout during Lohei?
There are no restrictions preventing you from shouting during Lohei. After all, Lohei is meant to be a boisterous CNY tradition whereby you toss a raw fish salad (yusheng) as high as possible in the air whilst shouting auspicious phrases. However, to play it safe, you can use audio recordings of these phrases so that your yusheng will remain saliva-free.
8. What are the best festive events held to commemorate CNY 2023?
There are a variety of CNY events which will be held in January and February 2023 such as the iconic Chingay Parade, Chinatown CNY Bazaar and the Wan Qing Festival of Spring. Remember to stay safe and wear a mask in crowded places!
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