Chinese New Year may have been around for a long time, but modernisation seems to have watered down the meaning behind the traditions and etiquette. To keep the tradition alive, parents have to pass the knowledge down to their children that come with the celebration. While there are many rules to the festive season, here are some of the non-negotiable’s of Chinese New Year etiquette that should be educated to children.
1) Ang pow etiquette
From young to old, everyone loves to receive ang pows (also translated as Red Packet). Ang pows are usually given from married couples to their parents, single adults and children during the Chinese New Year celebrations as a token of good luck and blessing. While this is the basic rule of giving ang pows, there are still questions about how the give and take really works. So, thanks to Women’s Weekly, here are the FAQs to the etiquette about ang pows!
2) Dress for the occasion…
Red may be “The Colour” for the celebration, but putting an effort to brighten up the atmosphere with colours would be great. As for white, grey, or black outfits, it’s better to check who you’re visiting because usually those colors are reserved for funerals and mourning.
3) … And dress well
It’s dress-up time! There are so many ways to style up for visitations thanks to fashion trends but do keep in mind to be considerate during this festive season even through outfits. Did you know that ripped-anything could mean attracting bad luck, whilst wearing long pants wishes for longer prosperity? However you want to style your outfit, just be sure that the clothes are new as it marks the beginning of new things.
If you’re into superstitions, then this is it. Be tactful in your conversations such that you’re not being flippant with the number 4 because, in most East Asian nations, it sounds like death in terms of pronunciation. On top of that, avoid giving anything in fours.
5) Giving and receiving gifts
Since Chinese New Year is all about the good tidings, bringing a gift to the host you visit becomes crucial. Some of the options you can bring would include fruits (especially mandarin oranges), sweets, alcohol, and teas. Also, please use two hands regardless of giving or receiving gifts while espousing good wishes.
6) Greeting people
It’s not just another “Hi, aunty.” or “Hello, uncle.” In Chinese culture, there is a list of names to address the family members and relatives, and to that list there are the paternal side and maternal side. If you want to know which name is for whom, click here for the details.
7) Stay in the moment
Modernisation may have brought us a lot of good things, especially in the digital aspect. But let’s also learn that face-to-face communication is just as important too. Put that phone down and talk to your relatives and other elders during visitations to bond. After all, you only visit these people once a year, so make those moments count.
8) Don’t lose your cool
With number 8 (the good luck number), don’t ever lose your cool while relatives can ask you the same old questions about love life and jobs. Telling them the same answer won’t hurt, and deflect the attention to the person conversing with you. If you want to exit the conversation, do so with tact and grace.