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Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy New Year!

11 February 2015
By Kelvin Wong

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If you walk around Singapore in between the ICANN52 meeting and see red everywhere; or hear the same happy tunes being played in public areas – don't be surprised. You're here in one of our busiest times- Lunar New Year!

The most significant event in the Chinese community in Singapore starts on 19 February, and 2015 marks the year of the goat.  The holiday is also widely celebrated across the region, including in China, Korea and Malaysia.  

Why red? While New Year practices and beliefs vary from country to country, the colour red is generally seen as an "auspicious" colour and brings good luck. You can see them in every imaginable facet of life, from the clothes to the decorations in the house and even the food we eat! Find out more here.

This is the best time to make a trip to Chinatown. It will no doubt be a multi-sensory feast for the eyes and ears; but with the whole nation thronging down as well, you can't miss the hustle and bustle during the Lunar New Year in Chinatown in Singapore.

Here are 3 things to know about the Lunar New Year.

  1. Lunar New Year coincides with both spring and spring cleaning- In the Chinese calendar, the holiday not only marks the start of a new year but the changeover from winter to spring.  This is the time for spring cleaning, traditionally believed to clear out bad luck.
  2. Lunar New Year lasts for 15 days- It is the longest holiday, marked by lavish feasts complete with dumplings that resemble ancient coins and tangerine oranges (which sounds like the word for "luck"). Homes are decorated with pussy willows, and the exchanging of little red envelopes filled with money (also called Hong Bao).
  3. 2015 is the year of the goat- Each year is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals.  Next year (2016) it will be the year of the monkey.

Kelvin Wong is the Head for Outreach and Public Responsibility, APAC.

Authors

Kelvin Wong