The countdown to a brand new lunar year has begun. As we make our preparations for the Chinese New Year celebrations and welcome the Year of the Rat, we asked a few good friends of Prestige for their own festive traditions.

The responses below have been edited for clarity.

While I don’t follow any particular Chinese New Year traditions, I  do love this festive season. I usually take this opportunity to travel to places where there’s an active Chinese ethnic community celebrating the New Year. It ceases to amaze me how different and yet similar we are in so many ways, and I always feel an instant connection to the local people when I immerse myself in their celebrations and festivals.

This year I plan to go to Taichung for the Chinese New Year where they have something called a Sindingban Festival, which is a traditional Hakka folk celebration — my boyfriend is a Hakka. I’m told they celebrate by making an unusually large red rice cake which has its root in rice farming, and then offering the gigantic cake to thank the gods.
I still follow traditions like not sweeping the floor on the first day of the Chinese New Year calendar because the Chinese believe that it will sweep away fortune, or not cutting my hair on that day too for the same belief that it will cut away fortune.
These days, I am usually overseas during the celebrations so I cook for my friends to introduce them to our customs.
During the Chinese New Year celebrations, I typically drive my classic car around town. My family and I will always have a polo match together — I personally think polo is the king of games! In Malaysia, Chinese New Year falls around the same time as the beginning of the polo season which thankfully is also the start of good warm weather that’s perfect for the sport.

We usually have a yee sang with the family and at my Shoes, Shoes, Shoes stores, there is always the compulsory lion dance. This year we have moved into a new house and we will be having the lion dance there too, which the kids are super excited about!

I still follow the tradition I grew up with which is to usher in the New Year by turning on the lights before midnight, and wearing new clothes on the first day of the lunar now. Now we practice that as a family.

Every year, my family will don matching outfits to go visiting on the first and second day of the Chinese New Year. This tradition began about nine years ago when I started dressing my kids were younger. I thought it was cute to dress them similarly for photos but also to make it easier for our extended family and friends to spot my kids for handing out ang pao!

Since then, it has evolved to include my parents, parents-in-law, brother- and sister-in-law, as well as their kids. I guess everyone liked the idea of matching outfits once a year for our annual family photo. My concept for our Chinese New Year outfits have always been Oriental-inspired with comfy cuts and fabrics so everyone can eat to their hearts’ content and still look good.

My Chinese New Year tradition is pretty much the same every year and we practice it without fail. On the eve of the new year, I spend it with my parents and my in-laws, which is modern way of celebrating because typically, the wife would be expected to spend it with her in-laws. We all meet again in the morning of the first day for our tea ceremony before heading off the temple and adopting a vegetarian diet for a day. Again, this is rare because women were expected to visit her parents on the second day of the Chinese New Year.
I would say we are very modern yet still implement our culture, we have the best of both worlds and I don’t have to miss out on spending time with my family.