Growing up, what Chinese New Year traditions did your family keep? A comforting piping hot steamboat reunion dinner? A whirlwind of spring cleaning in the weeks leading up to the new year? Card games played at the dining table with family till the wee hours of the morning?
Traditions like these that make up our core memories are certainly worth passing down. After all, these family traditions are what help children understand our cultural beliefs and identity.
Here are five traditions with a little twist that you can pass down to your own little family, giving them the gift of happy Chinese New Year memories that will stick with them for a long time.
Preparing reunion dinner together
Reunion dinner is definitely one of the highlights of the festival, hands up if you remember your grandma or mom whipping up a sumptuous feast for the evening! This is one tradition for keeps - take it one step further and prepare for the dinner as a family. Go grocery shopping the weeks before to pick out their favourite foods–everyone gets to choose one to add on. You can also learn to cook a new dish every new year for reunion dinner as your family tradition.
Chinese New Year craft and decorations
Putting up all the cheerful red and gold decorations to amp up the festive mood is a fun tradition to have for the family. Everyone can be involved in this, from the youngest to the oldest of kids! What's even more fun is making some colourful craft together as a family, it'll definitely be something the kids will look forward to year after year.
New (matching!) pajamas on the Eve
Slipping on new pajamas to wear on Chinese New Year's Eve is an age-old tradition that is said to herald in good luck for the new year. For children, this can be a super fun tradition to look forward to. Take this one level up with new matchy family pajamas and snap some photos every year-this will certainly make for a fond memory for years to come even after the children are all grown up.
Card games galore
There's something about playing card games with the family on Chinese New Year that feels different – the games feel more fun and the atmosphere more joyous, somehow. Make this into a firm tradition for the kids with all-time-favourite games like Ban Luck (also known as Blackjack), Fishing, Daidee, Gin Rummy and Poker. Even better, introduce a new game every new year, for your own little family tradition: Huat’s Up, Sushi Go, and Happy Dim Sum are some fun games with super cute pictures that kids will love! Play late into the night with grandparents, cousins, aunties, and uncles for a truly memorable Chinese New Year.
Spring clean and redecorate their rooms
The tradition of spring cleaning is an important one during Chinese New Year, because it's thought to chase away all the bad luck from the year to usher in good fortune in the new year. Don't think of it as hard work, instead, rope in the kids and make it a fun-filled family affair with music and laughter. Our pro tip is to ask your child if they'd like a new piece of furniture or items to style their room to their liking–and to get these things for them to be placed in the room after spring cleaning is done. The promise of a newly decorated and fresh clean room will definitely be a tradition they look forward to every Chinese New Year.