Hi everyone! We hope you’ve had a restful Chinese New Year break. All too soon, everyone seems to be wrapping up the celebrations that have just barely begun.
Things have been quiet around the halls and residences lately, with many just returning from CNY festivities or peacefully studying for midterms in their rooms. But in the previous weeks, there were events across the hostels to usher in the new year. Here are snapshots of the different celebrations:
Over at Kent Ridge Hall, residents spiced up their dinner with some Yusheng. Yusheng is a salad consisting of raw fish (usually salmon), shredded vegetables, fruits, peanuts and shrimp crackers. The dish represents abundance. Participants stand in a circle, chopsticks in hand, and a leader usually leads the group in chanting wishes for the new year while adding the ingredients and sauces in the recommended order. He gives the signal to begin the toss, and everyone reaches over and tosses the salad with their chopsticks. The toss can get messy, but that’s the best part!
At the University Town Residence, residential staff organised cultural workshops on henna tattoos, tying a turban, making paper roses, and just in time for CNY, Chinese calligraphy. Much like how apprentices of old painstakingly copied “the right way” to write a character from their masters, residents of UTR got some guidance from pros (and from some model scripts) on how to write the characters. The workshops were conducted on February 12 at the UTR Cultural Pavilion.
Over at Prince George’s Park, some residential assistants (RAs) and advisors (RADs) put together a Lunar New Year Welcome Celebration on February 8. The lobby of Residence 5 came alive with red and gold decor, and students from all over came together to ring in the new year by sharing scrumptious CNY treats. These included dumplings, pineapple tarts, wafer rolls, and peanut cookies.
And who could miss the oranges that night? There were boxes overflowing with them that night, and most PGP residents were able to take home at least one.
Mandarin oranges are a staple during CNY. When one visits homes, it is customary to bring a pair of oranges and present them to the host. The host receives the oranges and replaces them with oranges from their home, which the visitor then takes home. While not strictly following this tradition, the PGP CNY Welcome was a great introduction to the customs practiced by the majority Chinese population of Singapore.
CNY is usually concluded on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, with this day being termed as Yuanxiao Festival, i.e. today!
The Chinese celebrate Yuanxiao by watching lion dances, eating tangyuan (dumplings in soup), and lighting paper lanterns. At public lantern displays, lanterns may even have riddles attached to them that visitors can try to answer. Perhaps we can attempt some riddles after we complete our midterms and essays?
Let us know about your Chinese New Year experience in the comments below!