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Our Favourite Mums Share their Most Cherished Chinese New Year Traditions

Posted on January 28 2020

Preparing for the New Year, Michelle’s three kids are clad in Chateau de Sable. The trio have worn this brand’s outfit for many Chinese New Years. Image credit: Michelle Hon

As the festive season for Chinese New Year approaches, we asked our favourite mums what their most cherished traditions are, whether that includes cleaning the house, attending family gatherings or paying their respects to their parents.

 

 

The Reunion Dinner

Choy Wan, her husband and son celebrating Chinese New Year at her in-laws’. Image credit: Choy Wan

 

Founder of the Sapta Collective social enterprise, Choy Wan says they’re “quite traditional when it comes to Chinese New Year”. The thing she looks forward to the most, she says, “is the massive feast my mother-in-law throws on the eve where all the family members unite”. Since she got married, Chinese New Year has been with her husband’s side, and it can total up to 50 to 60 people.

One tradition Choy does every year is to make one dish, such as Chinese mushrooms and white poached chicken, which she learned from her late maternal grandma. She adds, “Making a dish every year for my husband’s family is a tradition that I want to uphold from my grandmother.”

Michelle Hon, author of The Chill Mom, and Founder of the Mom Boss Academy, says her favourite CNY tradition is the reunion dinner on the night before CNY. She adds, “It’s the time when everyone in my family gets together and eats dishes my parents prepare. It’s always the same dishes every year, predictable, but nothing tastes as good as a lovingly home cooked meal.”

For presenter, marketing and PR director of The Karting Arena, Claire Jedrek, now a mum of two, her favourite tradition is simply having reunion dinner at her late maternal grandma’s home with her family. Each year the entire maternal side of her family will gather at the home and have a wonderful potluck reunion dinner.

 

 

Getting Ready for the New Year

Charlotte Kiew and her daughter during their Chinese New Year’s shoot last year. Image credit: Charlotte Kiew and Confetti Peektures

 

Similarly, Charlotte Kiew, fitness trainer and mum of one, also loves getting into the CNY spirit. Examples of these include decorating her home festively, giving out red packets to her child, as well as younger relatives and kids as they attend family gatherings over the holiday.

 

As for Katherine Sng, founder of Bubba & Mama, she loves getting a full set of new clothes to start the new year. Getting a new set of clothes is seen to symbolise a fresh start. One of the current trends in Singapore, especially in families with young kids is to have a matching coordinate for everyone. Katherine, too, prefers matching with her son.

 

 

Playing Games

Tay Kewei, her husband and their son celebrating Chinese New Year last year. Image credit: Tay Kewei

 

For Singapore songwriter and actress, Tay Kewei, who’s expecting her second child this year, her favourite tradition is playing In Between. You’ll need a deck or two of cards (two makes trying to count cards more difficult). To start the game, everyone puts in the same amount of money and the total is the maximum each person can bet.

Next, the dealer deals two cards facing up. The player to his left will have to guess if the next card’s value is in between the two cards. For example, the ace has a value of 1 and king 13. Thus, the player wins the value of his bet if his card is in between the first two. Otherwise, the amount is added to the pot, and the game continues for the other players. Beware that if the third card is the same as either of the first two, you’ll pay double the value of your bet.

 

 

Showing Respect

Charmaine Seah-Ong with her family during last year’s Chinese New Year. Taking a family photo after visiting her parents is a yearly tradition. Image credits: Charmaine Seah-Ong

 

Charmaine Seah-Ong, co-founder of Elementary.co, says her favourite tradition is heading to her parents’ home first thing in the morning on Day 1 to bai nian (visit her parents and wish them a happy new year). The whole process, she says, includes “kneeling in front of my mum and dad with oranges in hand to ask for forgiveness and blessings for the year ahead, before they give us our ang pows”.

After this, as she’s the oldest sibling, her younger brothers have to repeat this to her, followed by her daughters who have to bai nian to her married brothers too. Apart from gleefully watching her younger siblings and kids kneel before her once a year, she feels it’s a great tradition since it’s an opportunity to practice humility and forgiveness. The process ends with an annual family photo to remember the year by, and Charmaine hopes that this tradition will continue even when her daughters have their own families in the future.

 

For all your CNY preparations:

Auspicious Phrases
Yusheng Steps
CNY Outfit Inspiration
Motherswork’s CNY collection
Decorate your home with DIY crafts and florals.

 

Follow our mums to see their Chinese New Year #ootds:

Charlotte Kiew | @charlottekiew
Charmaine Seah-Ong | @eleventhour
Choy Wan | @choywan
Claire Jedrek | @clairejedrek
Katherine Sng | @iamkatherinesng
Michelle Hon | @thechillmom
Serene Chua | @serenechua99
Tay Kewei | @keweitay

Preparing for the New Year, Michelle’s three kids are clad in Chateau de Sable. The trio have worn this brand’s outfit for many Chinese New Years. Image credit: Michelle Hon

As the festive season for Chinese New Year approaches, we asked our favourite mums what their most cherished traditions are, whether that includes cleaning the house, attending family gatherings or paying their respects to their parents.

 

 

The Reunion Dinner

Choy Wan, her husband and son celebrating Chinese New Year at her in-laws’. Image credit: Choy Wan

 

Founder of the Sapta Collective social enterprise, Choy Wan says they’re “quite traditional when it comes to Chinese New Year”. The thing she looks forward to the most, she says, “is the massive feast my mother-in-law throws on the eve where all the family members unite”. Since she got married, Chinese New Year has been with her husband’s side, and it can total up to 50 to 60 people.

One tradition Choy does every year is to make one dish, such as Chinese mushrooms and white poached chicken, which she learned from her late maternal grandma. She adds, “Making a dish every year for my husband’s family is a tradition that I want to uphold from my grandmother.”

Michelle Hon, author of The Chill Mom, and Founder of the Mom Boss Academy, says her favourite CNY tradition is the reunion dinner on the night before CNY. She adds, “It’s the time when everyone in my family gets together and eats dishes my parents prepare. It’s always the same dishes every year, predictable, but nothing tastes as good as a lovingly home cooked meal.”

For presenter, marketing and PR director of The Karting Arena, Claire Jedrek, now a mum of two, her favourite tradition is simply having reunion dinner at her late maternal grandma’s home with her family. Each year the entire maternal side of her family will gather at the home and have a wonderful potluck reunion dinner.

 

 

Getting Ready for the New Year

Charlotte Kiew and her daughter during their Chinese New Year’s shoot last year. Image credit: Charlotte Kiew and Confetti Peektures

 

Similarly, Charlotte Kiew, fitness trainer and mum of one, also loves getting into the CNY spirit. Examples of these include decorating her home festively, giving out red packets to her child, as well as younger relatives and kids as they attend family gatherings over the holiday.

 

As for Katherine Sng, founder of Bubba & Mama, she loves getting a full set of new clothes to start the new year. Getting a new set of clothes is seen to symbolise a fresh start. One of the current trends in Singapore, especially in families with young kids is to have a matching coordinate for everyone. Katherine, too, prefers matching with her son.

 

 

Playing Games

Tay Kewei, her husband and their son celebrating Chinese New Year last year. Image credit: Tay Kewei

 

For Singapore songwriter and actress, Tay Kewei, who’s expecting her second child this year, her favourite tradition is playing In Between. You’ll need a deck or two of cards (two makes trying to count cards more difficult). To start the game, everyone puts in the same amount of money and the total is the maximum each person can bet.

Next, the dealer deals two cards facing up. The player to his left will have to guess if the next card’s value is in between the two cards. For example, the ace has a value of 1 and king 13. Thus, the player wins the value of his bet if his card is in between the first two. Otherwise, the amount is added to the pot, and the game continues for the other players. Beware that if the third card is the same as either of the first two, you’ll pay double the value of your bet.

 

 

Showing Respect

Charmaine Seah-Ong with her family during last year’s Chinese New Year. Taking a family photo after visiting her parents is a yearly tradition. Image credits: Charmaine Seah-Ong

 

Charmaine Seah-Ong, co-founder of Elementary.co, says her favourite tradition is heading to her parents’ home first thing in the morning on Day 1 to bai nian (visit her parents and wish them a happy new year). The whole process, she says, includes “kneeling in front of my mum and dad with oranges in hand to ask for forgiveness and blessings for the year ahead, before they give us our ang pows”.

After this, as she’s the oldest sibling, her younger brothers have to repeat this to her, followed by her daughters who have to bai nian to her married brothers too. Apart from gleefully watching her younger siblings and kids kneel before her once a year, she feels it’s a great tradition since it’s an opportunity to practice humility and forgiveness. The process ends with an annual family photo to remember the year by, and Charmaine hopes that this tradition will continue even when her daughters have their own families in the future.

 

For all your CNY preparations:

Auspicious Phrases
Yusheng Steps
CNY Outfit Inspiration
Motherswork’s CNY collection
Decorate your home with DIY crafts and florals.

 

Follow our mums to see their Chinese New Year #ootds:

Charlotte Kiew | @charlottekiew
Charmaine Seah-Ong | @eleventhour
Choy Wan | @choywan
Claire Jedrek | @clairejedrek
Katherine Sng | @iamkatherinesng
Michelle Hon | @thechillmom
Serene Chua | @serenechua99
Tay Kewei | @keweitay