It’s 2021 and the bullish year of the Ox calls for fresh ideas on elevating CNY traditions and celebrations. Here’s how to ‘hip-huat’ it this year.
As much as many of us look forward to CNY – the gatherings over food, the exchange of goodwill and red packets, the dressing up, the auspicious traditions and general rah-rah – it can also feel like Ground Hog’s Day, just more of the same-old in a different year of the zodiac.
Try something new if you’re bored, change things up by upping the CNY celebration ante with Curatedition’s list of modern ideas that jazz up and trendify the springtime celebrations.
Reunion Dinner Re-imagined
Dare we trifle with the reunion dinner? Yes, we dare to not so much trifle with it, but re-imagine it to be healthier, heartier, and all-round more fun and interactive. Change up steamboat for something equally hot, like a barbecue (Weber’s smokeless and small ones for apartment living), and cook and eat real meat in choice cuts (we like Huber’s Butchery, Swiss Butchery and Foodie Market Place). If your family simply cannot do without something soupy and comforting, set up a shabu shabu station too. In place of veggies, a DIY pohpiah and pie tee table will ensure everyone’s daily fibre intake. If you don’t want to set up your own BBQ pit and shop for meat, book a deal from Sunday Roast (www.sundayroast.sg) and bring the steakhouse home. For orders $1,200 and more, they’ll even bring the chef. Shabu Shabu also allows you to rehash the steamboat pot, so everyone, including Grandma, will be happy. Then just click www.baobaopopiah.com for a delicious local salad set-up, pie tee and delivery included.
Marmalade for Mandarins
Instead of bringing ‘kam’ or Mandarins on your visits to the homes of loved ones and friends, switch things up with equally delicious and auspicious orange marmalade. Like Mandarins, they are sweet and of the right colour, and have the added advantage of keeping for longer and will make a yummy treat for breakfast the next day. Your recipients will appreciate the unexpected surprise and the break from the traditional fruit.
We like the mini jars from Mrs Bridges that purveys plain orange marmalade, with ginger, or champagne. Other swell choices include minis (about 28-30g each) from Tiptree Wilkin & Sons, Bonne Ma Man and D’arbo. These can easily be ordered by the cartons through usual established online grocery stores. And pre-empting that the domestic goddesses among you may prefer to make your own, we’ve also included an original marmalade recipe from intrepid home chef and all-round gourmand, James Siow.
Everyone’s going to serve the usual suspects (tarts, bangkit, peanut cookies), which after the 4th house visit will be so ‘jelak’ (sick from eating in SG vernacular), so why not go with sweets that break the monotony? Your homes can be the ones to refresh and perk up palates with madeleines, brownies, fluffy chiffon cakes, macarons, petit fours, dainty nonya kuehs, even savoury favourites like soon kueh and curry puffs. And all these can be perfectly washed down with famously fat-cutting oolong tea.
A Splash of Red
It’s CNY and the perfect occasion to splash out in eye-catching red. Red is outstanding, but a sea of red can get boring. Wear red by all means, but we don’t want to just see red. There are so many other beautiful hues to wear and enjoy, so do red colour couture just on your lips and for the mani-pedi instead. No two red shades are the same after all, as you can see in the gorgeous collections from Dior, Shu Uemura and YSL Beauty. They comes in the deepest and brightest of true reds you can imagine.
We concede that the cheongsam in its original form is elegant and perfect for CNY and almost any occasion in fact, as it’s that versatile and comfortable! Enduring and classic are good, but we also like these creative re-interpretations of the cheongsam and chinoiserie-inspired pieces from Ong Shumugam, Ying the Label and Lai Chan for when you want a refreshed CNY wardrobe.
Green Hong Bao
Go paperless, save the earth and PayNow hong bao to your loved ones. It’s safe and less stressful than lining up to get new notes. With restricted house visits in play, giving e-hong baos enables you to gift even when it’s not possible to meet. You can contact your preferred bank to get details on how to send big quantities of e-hong baos this year. Otherwise, just activate your PayNow app as usual.
Fruitful ‘Huat’ Trees
Why buy kumquat plants and pussy willow? They will fade once the season is over. Get a pair of evergreen fruit trees – pineapple, passion fruit, jujube, lemon, jambu or fig – that will continue to be fruitful throughout the year. These fruit trees are also easily available from most online and brick and mortar plant stores. Be-ribbon them in scarlet if you like them to look more festive.
Modern Floral Decor
For that touch of moulin rouge at home, spruce up the house with tasteful floral arrangements of red roses and pink peonies in place of gaudy red cushion covers and glitzy gold curtains. The trend this year seems to be about mixing flowers with fruit and installing them into sculptural shapes as patio and threshold greeters, as well as centrepieces for dining, coffee and side tables.
Images courtesy of featured brands and vendors, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.