The Week Before The New Year

A week before the Lunar New Year, special attention is given to various household gods. Offerings of candy and sticky rice cake or Ninko are made to the Kitchen God so that he will present a favourable report on the family he lives with to the Jade Emperor. For those wishing for a prosperous year and lasting friendships, it is time to order Shang Palace’s special Ninko. Shaped like a fish, it represents not only eternal friendship but is also a symbol of overflowing abundance.

Chinese New Year’s Eve • 4 February

On the Eve of the Lunar New Year, all family members are expected to attend the reunion dinner, especially those who are living away from their ancestral home. This annual gathering reflects the importance of filial piety and family unity. For this important occasion, Shang Palace offers traditional Yee Sang and Chinese New Year set menus for family gatherings, big and small.

The First Day of Chinese New Year • 5 February

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, the tradition is to visit close family members and wish them the best of health and wealth. Elders and married couples are expected to give children and those still single lucky money in red packets called ‘hong bao’. The act of giving and receiving these lucky packets is beneficial to both parties. If you are visiting Malaysia during this period, you will be able to enjoy Malaysian hospitality at some of the open houses of ministers who are celebrating Chinese New Year. Please check the dailies for schedules.

The Second Day • 6 February

On the second day, it is customary for family members to get together to usher in the Lunar New Year.

The Third Day • 7 February

This is the day to be cautious: Squabble Day. It is said that, should one visit a friend or a relative on this day, one would end up quarrelling with this person the whole year.

The Fifth Day • 9 February

According to tradition, the God of Wealth is welcomed into the household today to ensure good fortune all year round.

The Seventh Day • 11 February

This is proclaimed Everyman’s Birthday, where every Chinese is one year older and celebrates by eating Yee Sang or raw fish salad. Shang Palace offers five varieties of Yee Sang for your dining pleasure: Korean Snow Pear, Crispy Fish Skin and Jellyfish, Salmon, Tempura Soft Shell Crab and Shimeji Mushroom and Sliced Abalone Yee Sang with Caviar. Enjoy the Yee Sang ritual with family, friends and business associates and exchange wishes of health, longevity and prosperity for the year.

The Ninth Day • 13 February

Auspicious offerings are laid out in the courtyard of temples to celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor who was believed to have been born immediately after midnight on the ninth day.

The Fifteenth Day / Chap Goh Mei • 19 March

Chap Goh Meh is a festival celebrated by the Hokkien-speaking Chinese community and merely means “the fifteenth night of Chinese New Year”. Again, the family gets together for dinner. Chap Goh Meh is also known as “Chinese Valentine’s Day”. Young and single women gather to toss mandarin oranges into the sea, hoping that their future spouses will pick them up, a quaint custom which originated from Penang, Malaysia.