Time to hang up the jingle bells…

It is January 4th.  Which means the tree comes down today.  The Christmas DVDs and the books will be gently stored until next Black Friday.  I will give a not so silent cheer when I put away “Elmo’s Christmas Countdown,” which E has requested so many times by now that I can sing the full lyrics of “I want a Snuffleupagus for Christmas” along with Anne Hathaway and Big Bird.  I can, in fact, identify it by the softest strains of music making their way from the living room and through my closed bedroom door and instantly get an earworm stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

I’m over it.  Until next Christmas season.

So is Singapore…

On Sunday night, as we waiting for a taxi at Paragon, I watched as a small team of very efficient workers removed hanging decorations and tossed them insto a storage container dispassionately. Yesterday, as the cab wound it’s way through rainy traffic towards Suntec City, half the road was blocked off to remove lights and decorations. Today as my cab passed ION, the giant purple tree was down to a frame that was 80% dismantled.

At the same time, out of nowhere, the Rabbits are multiplying like….well….Rabbits.

WTF, you may be asking…what’s with the Rabbits?

Ah, we are about to enter the REAL holiday season here in Singapore….Chinese New Year.  And 2011 marks the year of the Rabbit.  My friend Tiny Island has put up a couple of posts showing pictures of the bunny invasion.  Yesterday, while at Suntec, I couldn’t help but start to admire the Chinese dresses and decorations at various stores, and have decided to enjoy and engage with the Chinese New Year.  However, the Carrefour I was in (think Walmart, circa 1990) had goods at ridiculous prices compared to those I could see in Tiny Islands Chinatown photoshoot, and will be therefore purchasing my decorations and such in Chinatown.

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nien (Chinese: 年; pinyin: nián). Nien would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nien ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nien was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nien was afraid of the colour red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nien. From then on, Nien never came to the village again. The Nien was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nien became Hongjun Laozu’s mount.[

source: Wikipedia, because I’m lazy.

 

While Chinese New Year is celebrated as a two day public holiday in Singapore (this year on a Thursday and Friday, making it a four day weekend for Ravi), it is actually a two week long event, and I’m told that some businesses in Singapore will remain closed for the full duration.  The majority of course, will only close on the actual declared public holidays (February 3 and 4).  Mustafa, as ever, will be open as the Indian population of Singapore isn’t terribly invested in Chinese New Year.

Once I actually get the tree down and the Chinese New Years stuff purchased and up, I’ll share pictures, of course.  I also plan to keep an eye on kid-friendly events and perhaps even brave the madding crowds for the parade and fireworks.

This entry was posted in Holidays, Holidays (Not Singaporean), Pictures, Singapore, With Kids. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Time to hang up the jingle bells…

  1. Flora says:

    I took my Christmas tree down the day after Christmas. It’s so much easier to do when all the ornaments I own fit in a small box. In the US, I had a storage unit full of stuff.

    And I think I’m going to head down to Chinatown to buy decorations for Chinese New Year’s, too. I think they are so beautiful and I love the color red!

    Happy New Year!
    Flora

  2. bookjunkie says:

    Thanks for the link back 🙂 Yeah Chinese New Year is definitely the main event in Singapore as it’s celebrated by about 70% of the population I think. Even though I don’t celebrate it, it’s fun to have our own reunion dinner with the family the night before which this year falls on 2nd Feb. That’s when all the restaurants will be fully booked.

  3. Kirsten says:

    Chinatown on the night of CNY will be INSANE. ABSOLUTELY INSANE. WORSE THAN ORCHARD AT CHRISTMAS INSANE. But interesting, if you don’t mind the crowds!

    Otherwise there used to be CNY festivals, I’m not sure if they do them anymore. I remember going to them by the Singapore River (near where the Singapore Flyer is now).

    Of course for young unmarrieds like myself one of the BEST parts of CNY is the fact that we get to go around collecting red packets (with money in it!) from our elders/married people. My bank account gets a healthy boost this time of year, muahahahaha!

    And of course, what festival is complete without the insane amounts of food and goodies that come with it? I like nien gao (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nian_gao), although I only ever eat the pan-fried ones, because I am sinful like that (and it just tastes better). Sticky, though!

    On the 7th day of CNY it’s “everybody’s birthday” – basically another big excuse to get together and eat a lot.

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