Jan 25, 2017

Chinese New Year

Cundall’s Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore offices are starting to plan their celebrations for Chinese New Year taking place 28th January till 15th February 2017.

Members of staff across our global practice will be taking part in the festivities, so we wanted to find out a little more about what they have planned.

“I will clean the house before the Chinese New Year – the floor, walls and every corner of the house will need to be cleaned. In Chinese, “dust” is a homophone for the word “old”, thus cleaning means to drive the old things away from the house to get ready for a new year. After cleaning, we will go shopping and buy new clothes for the festival. The last day of the year 2016 (Chinese calendar), couplets are pasted on doorways as part of the festival’s celebration and “Fu” is also pasted on gates or some windows in the house. Pasting the “Fu” upside down means the arrival of happiness or good fortune (the character “Fu” means good fortune). In order to welcome the new year, we then stay up all night playing “MaJiang” and watching CCTV New Year’s Gala which is a comprehensive art and performance event on the festival’s eve. Traditionally we would welcome the New Year with firecracker and fireworks, however, the Shanghai Government has prohibited fireworks in order to reduce air pollution. I will  prepare a Red Envelope with lucky money for my child. In folk culture, the children will live safe and sound for the whole year if they get lucky money. In the following days, we will visit friends and relatives.” Demi Wang, Office Manager, Shanghai

“This is the first Chinese New Year (CNY) since I got married so I will prepare red envelopes, turnip cake and write “Fai Chun” by myself before the CNY. On the first day of CNY, my wife and I will visit mine and her family and have meals with them to celebrate the New Year.” Desmond Lee, Engineer, Hong Kong

“I’m Malaysian-Chinese on my mum’s side, and we used to celebrate CNY in Scotland by decorating the house and having a nice Chinese meal. One year we were all hands on deck making Peking duck from scratch (removing feathers and all)! In Birmingham, my plan to celebrate this year is to go out to one of the restaurants in the Chinese quarter for dim sum with my girlfriend and a few friends.” Lewis Morgan, Engineer, Birmingham

“For most Chinese people, this is the longest holiday of the year. During this time, I will stay with my family and visit relatives. I was born into a big family so this is one of the few opportunities I get to see my whole family.

I get to go back to my grandpa’s house in the countryside which always brings back lots of childhood memories. It is a beautiful place with fields, ponds, wells and wooden fences. We all sit around the table in the courtyard while my grandpa cooks for the whole family.

One of the traditions of Chinese New Year is for the adults/elders to give out red envelopes to the children and teenagers. However now that I have started working (and earn my own money), I’m disappointed that I will not get any red envelopes. However, once I get married, I will give out red envelopes to the younger generation as this is a great tradition.” Tracy Jin, Engineer, Shanghai

“This year is very special for my family since relatives from my father’s side will be coming to stay with us. Hence, before the first day of the Chinese New Year, I will need to clean and tidy up my place to welcome the family for the first time in our home for Reunion Dinner. I will be preparing some red envelopes on my coffee table in case some of them have forgot to bring theirs. I will also stick some red decorative papers, ‘Fai Chun’ (also known as couplets), above the main door frame and walls to decorate. Most importantly, we will be playing some games, such as mah-jong and card games, possibly playing with some real money, so it should be a fun, happy night.” Kay Chan, Engineer, Hong Kong

“I’m going home to Malaysia after two long years away, and I would be hard pressed to find a better time to do so than over Chinese New Year. I’m so excited to be heading back, as during this time of year it’s pretty busy and very jolly with lots of the colours red and yellow everywhere! It’s a big annual event for my family, and for a number of friends of mine. It’s not uncommon for my non-Chinese friends to join in on the celebrations too. With both friends and family, we make rounds to other relatives and friends’ abodes to wish them well for the upcoming year. The younger generation will usually receive ‘ang pow’s, or red envelops (with some money in it). Households usually have a variety of snacks for visitors, ranging from prawn crackers and sunflower seeds to almond cookies and pineapple tarts, and with it some words of wisdom and advice from the giver. Besides seeing many familiar faces, another aspect of Chinese New Year I look forward to is the food and snacks we get to nibble on. As you might be able to tell by now, the Chinese New Year period is really all about maintaining relationships and having a good time with family and friends.” Tsing Yu Ng, Graduate Engineer, Birmingham

“Our family tradition is to celebrate at the home of the oldest family member in terms of hierarchy for example; when my great-grandma was alive (she lived till 102), we would all make a trip back to her home up north.  Now that the ‘elders’ have passed on, my dad is the oldest so we will have a Reunion Dinner on CNY Eve with him. On the morning of CNY Day 1, we serve red date tea to dad and our ‘senior’ relatives come around and receive an angpow (red envelope in Hokkien) in return. As a sign of respect, the ‘children’ who are now working adults, usually also give an angpow to the parents or grandparents. I usually hold a “CNY Open Home” at my house and invite close friends and neighbours to celebrate with us on one of the CNY weekends. The last day of CNY is called “Chap Goh Meh” here (15th night in Hokkien) and the tradition where I am originally from (northern part of Malaysia) is for the ladies to throw mandarin oranges into the full-moon-lit sea to wish for a good husband (I cannot confirm or deny the identity of the person holding the mandarin in the pic).” Joanna Goh, Office Manager, Singapore


“I will be flying back to Malaysia to celebrate this joyful and long-awaited event of the year with the family.

We normally start cleaning the house a few days before the New Year to get rid of negative spiritual residue and bad luck from the past year. We will then decorate the windows and doors with long, red paper that has phrases that carry positive wishes for the New Year.

During the New Year’s Eve dinner, also known as the Reunion Dinner, symbolising unity and family, a tradition that can be commonly found among Malaysian Chinese is Loh Sang or the Prosperity Toss. We would normally toss a plate of Chinese salad while wishing out loud. The fresh, flavourful salad includes various finely chopped colourful vegetables and nuts. The elders would tell us that the higher you toss the salad, the more likely your wishes will come true in the New Year!

After the Reunion Dinner, red envelopes are given to children, young adults and the elderly. These envelopes contain money and the lucky ones can get envelopes that contain up to $300! This gift is said to be lucky and will bring health and safety for the rest of the year! I guess this is the only time seeing red is considered a good thing!

For the next few days of the celebration, my family and I would normally visit the stunning traditional temples for blessing and enjoy the Chingay processions, lion dances and traditional costume performances.” Jay Goh, Engineer, Sydney

“I will be helping my grandma to prepare Turnip cake before the CNY comes. Basically it will involve shredding a Chinese radish and mixing the ingredients. We will gather together and share the cake while playing Mahjong on the first day of CNY.” Carol Chan, Senior Engineer, Hong Kong


“I will be travelling home to Ireland to spend Chinese New Year with my parents. On the first day of the new year, we will have a family lunch together. After that we will travel to my uncle’s house for a celebration which consists of more eating, playing mah-jong and singing karaoke throughout the night.” Suki Ho, Senior Graphic Designer, London

 “I will be visiting my grandparents in China during the CNY holiday. It has been quite a long time since my last visit there (over 10 years). They live in Hangzhou, which is known as a beautiful city with distinctive seasons. The photo can be seen here showing the winter scenery of the West Lake in Hangzhou.” Benny Choi, Graduate Engineer, Hong Kong

For details on when our offices are closed, please visit our website here.

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Desmond Lee, Uncategorized, Working at Cundall


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