Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chinese New Year in Singapore!!!

Chinese New Year was an amazing way to start off our stay here in Singapore. We were lucky to have met some wonderful friends from different parts of China to help us celebrate. Last year my birthday was on the first day of Chinese New Year and I wanted to celebrate but was not really sure how. This year is "my year", as I was born in the year of the horse so I'm glad I was able to soak up everything I could about this fun festival. 
The weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, China town was full of vendors and people getting ready for the celebration. We made our way there a few times for shows, fireworks and to stock up on yummy cookies, fresh fruits, and bakkwa. 

On New Years Eve we started our night at China Town for dinner and to enjoy the lights and shows. Then we took the MRT to Marina Bay, where another celebration was taking place. There we watched different dance performers on stage and lion dancers off stage making their way through the crowd. There was food, light displays and at midnight the best firework show I have seen in my life. It was a fun night.

The next day, or first day of the New Year we gathered to prepare a feast at our apartment. Each girl was so thoughtful and sweet by bringing gifts, food, and their talent of cooking. We helped a little by rolling and filling dumplings, but these girls were the real cooks. They made eight dishes, everything from scratch with only two burners that worked. I was impressed. For dessert Blake made Mama Russ's famous New Years sweet rolls as our contribution to the meal. We ended the night the proper way, by playing games and lighting fireworks. 

What I love most about this festival is how family oriented it is. Many of the girls shared what they do at home this time of year. They mostly spend time with family around a dinner table, eating good food, playing games, lighting fireworks, and exchanging gifts. I love that. And because we are all far away from our true families it was fun making memories with these wonderful people. 

Throughout the 15 day festival we were invited to many homes to celebrate and eat. Here in Singapore it is customary to eat Steam boat or Hot pot, have a lo hei (prosperity salad toss), and to give two oranges to any family or friends you visit during the festival. Along with wearing red, and giving red envelopes filled with money. All are symbolic of luck and prosperity. 

We ended our New Years Celebration by going to Chingay, this was the best parade Blake and I have ever attended. We'll share more pictures of that latter. 

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