- Why Do We Celebrate Festivities Less Enthusiastically in Singapore?
Today is the 10th day of the Lunar Calendar. To me, Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations had ended on the 5th day, last Tuesday, when I had to cancel a one-week leave to return to work.
Just when I thought CNY was over , a friend Julie texted me today,
“Good morning William… sorry for late reply 🤪 still busy with cny celeb. Meet up with old buddies. Here in JB we celeb cny till Qing Geh (Chingay), or ‘you shen’ (游神) in chinese. ”
Julie added that CNY celebrations in Johor Bahru go beyond the 15th. They celebrate up till the 22nd ( 9 March 2018) ending with a Chingay Parade, an annual street parade of dazzling colours and performances in conjunction with the birthdays of Chinese deities.
These pictures were taken from the Internet (https://www.johornow.com/jb-chingay-schedule-2018/). I was awed by the magnitude and duration of their celebrations.
Singapore celebrates CNY with a Chingay Parade too. And we have a signature River Hongbao event with mega CNY decorations by the Marina Bay. I was there with my family and relatives on the 3rd day of the Lunar New Year.
But both Chingay and River Hongbao ended yesterday. In fact, for many people, CNY celebrations stopped as soon as they returned to work in Singapore. In contrast, the CNY celebrations in JB last as long as 22 days, even after people resume work.
I couldn’t imagine celebrating CNY for so long. I asked my JB friends what they do? Julie’s answer was elegantly simple. She said, “busy praying, visiting, cooking lar, baking lar…” Here is a picture of her homemade cookies for the zodiac “dog” year for family and friends.
And I heard that Julie and her fellow work associates are planning to visit each other for CNY celebrations next week.
It sets me thinking why do we celebrate festivities a lot less enthusiastically than our immediate neighbour.
- The Real Problem
I think the problem is ties between people in a fast-paced society like ours are becoming a far cry from yesteryears’. For some, CNY has become an uneventful public holiday because they are estranged from siblings, relatives and friends. It is now not uncommon to hear of people skipping town during CNY celebrations.
Broken ties, especially with close family members, if left untended , may have detrimental effects on a person’s psychological and emotional well-being over time.
The real problem is not about the number of many days we spend on festivities. The real issue is whether we recognise that we have a problem here: Have we put in enough effort to foster closer ties with our families, relatives and friends in our daily lives?
William W. K. Tan
25 Feb 2018, Sunday