This year I celebrated the New Year 2 times. First, I said Welcome to 2014 and this last Friday, to the Year of the Horse.
Before I got here I knew that the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations will happen at the end of January, and that was about it. Then I started to discover signs and symbols all over the city.
It all began with a visit to Chinatown in December, when lots of decorations depicting wooden horses were being assembled. Then I found out that the new year was the Year of the Wood Horse, and that the horse is one of the 12 animals that make up the 12-year-cycle Chinese zodiac. Each of these animals interact with 5 elements: water, wood, fire, metal and earth. Pretty cool stuff.
Then I saw full pages in news papers with the symbol of the horse: first it was about what cars to choose (an obvious one: Ferrari), then it moved on to fashion – Ralph Lauren polo shirts, Diane von Furstenberg equestrian inspired wrap dresses and Tiffany golden charms were some of the options. For sure, the energy of this beautiful animal was everywhere.
CNY is more of a family holiday and the most important event of the CNY eve is the Reunion dinner, when all the family come together and celebrate, much like Christmas in the Western cultures.
Even if I’m an expat and don’t have my family with me in Singapore, I found some interesting options for this long weekend. Here’s my list:
– admired the beautiful decorations in Chinatown
– enjoyed the fireworks and the countdown party in the privacy of my own balcony. Last time I went downtown for this huge crowds kind of intimidated me.
– tasted and bought traditional Chinese pastries and sweets at Takashimaya Square. Pineapple tarts and pillows are a must try!
– went to the movie’s and had really nice and fancy meals with some of my friends
– enjoyed the sun! Read a good book by the pool and even got a sun burn thinking that back home there are piles of snow everywhere and is freezing. Now that’s a mood booster.
Also, I learnt a very valuable lesson: to do my groceries at least a couple of days before the big night next time or else I’ll end up again wondering around trying to buy some snacks when all the shops are closed.
The celebrations continue and in the next days I plan on seeing at least one Lion Dance and maybe a cool parade. Fingers crossed! 🙂
This is one of my favorite deserts: pineapple pillows. So simple and delicious!