Over the years, we’ve acquired a number of traditions in our Singapore Studio around Chinese New Year, including the CNY “Trundle” along Chinatown Street. Here’s Yvonne to tell you more…
“This year I rounded up the trundlers – including some of our newest recruits, freelancers and London Studio exchange colleagues – to visit the Chinese New Year markets at their busiest, embracing the noise and lights of raucous street hawkers. And the heat. Oh the heat!
To cool down, we stopped off for a craft beer in one of the oldest traditional hawker complexes in Singapore, nestled amongst cheap and cheerful local grub like claypot rice and Jon N’s personal favourite, popiah (a type of spring roll).
Finishing with some cheeky cocktails (and whiskies) in the super kooky rooftop bar in Potato Head, we debated the fluent use of Singlish with our new London friends before we all tumbled home in our taxis.”
Continuing with our CNY celebrations, the infamous Lion Dance troupe arrived at the studio on Wednesday afternoon last week. The lion proceeded to tour the Studio, spreading good luck and prosperity, sweeping away the bad fortune and unpleasant things from last year with a swish of its tail.
For the uninitiated, the lion dance is a traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic the animal’s movements in a lion costume. The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals for good luck, as the lion is believed to be an auspicious animal.
The dramatic climax of the Lion Dance is the “Cai Qing” – or “Picking the Green” – where by the lion ‘eats’ the leaves and spit them out at everyone. This is a symbolic act of blessing by the lion, with the spitting out of the leaves signifying that there will be an abundance of everything in the coming year.
After the dance, it was time for us to head off on our annual CNY dinner, this year hosted at Mouth restaurant in China Central Square. The theme? Kung Fu.
Once the drinks were flowing, it was time for another tradition: the Prosperity Toss, also known as Lo Hei. This is a communal dish of mixed shredded vegetables, sauces and condiments. It is customary to gather families and friends to toss the ingredients together while saying auspicious well-wishes out loud to usher in good luck. The tossing action is called “Lo Hei”, which means to “rise”, a reference to a thriving business during the New Year. It is believed that the higher you toss the ingredients in your salad, the greater your fortunes will be.
As well as Chinese New Year we had a few others things to celebrate during the evening, including Gary, Bambang and JP’s 5 year work anniversaries, Grace’s recent wedding, and Sophie’s just a few days later. Plus we had to hand out our “Best Dressed” awards for the night, which went to Amanda and Wesley..
In true DB Singapore style, the karaoke mics came out and we sang and danced the night away… Gong Xi Fa Cai!
To find out more about the Year of the Rooster-themed gifts we crafted this year, check out this blog post.
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