10 February 2021

Chinese New Year Traditions Reimagined

Like many other festivities in 2020, this Chinese New Year is unprecedented. When we celebrated CNY last year, we’d never expect that we’d have to celebrate our next in a lockdown! Though it may be tough not seeing our families and friends during reunion dinner this year, we can still keep the festive cheer alive! 

Here’s a list of traditions for you to reinvent when you celebrate Lunar New Year at home!

1. Reinventing Family Connections


Although many of us won’t be able to balik kampung this CNY, remember to pay a ‘visit’ to your grandparents and extended family members and wish them a happy new year through video calls! And don’t forget to send all your aunties, uncles, and cousins new year’s e-greetings on the rest of the CNY days as well! 

Here’s a list of greetings (both English and Chinese) that you can send to them:

  • 祝你牛年身体健康,万事如意!

  • 新的一年,祝你幸福平安

  • Gong Xi Fa Chai! Wishing you a prosperous Chinese Niu Year 2021 with immense joy and happiness! 

  • Wishing you health, wealth, and happiness this Niu Year. Have an Ox-traordinary Chinese New Year!

  • Sending Ox-picious wishes for the New Year!

Taylor’s Chinese Society Challenge #1:

Can you recite these CNY poems on our IG before the ang pao filter gives you your prize? Don’t forget to tag @taylors_chinese_society and @taylorsuni when you do!

Don’t just stop at festive video calls! With technology, distance is not a problem for you to do anything with your family — like playing online mahjong! Apps like Mahjong 3P available on both iOS and Android are here to keep your CNY traditions alive! (There’s even a Chinese version available on Android.)

Taylor’s Chinese Society Tip #1:

Download a Lunar New Year virtual background to spice up the CNY mood. It adds an element of surprise to the plain ol’ video calls you may have with them!

PS: Don't forget to also share with them this virtual CNY gift!

2. Reinventing Reunion Meals


We may not be able to drink our ‘Buddha Jumps Over the Wall’ soup or have some delicious Poon Choi at our favourite Chinese restaurants this CNY but that doesn’t mean we can’t have delicious food! 

Who’s up for some Maggi noodles with abalone this new year? Yes, there are instant noodles that come with real abalone! Every pack of A1 Abalone Instant Noodle comes with one piece of abalone in a large portion of noodles in chicken and herbal soup. It’s available in most major supermarkets in Malaysia as well as online shopping apps like Shopee and Lazada. However, if you’ve more of a traditional taste bud, go ahead and order a Poon Choi or Yee Sang to celebrate with your family! Home delivery services are available in most Chinese restaurants like DRAGON-i and PUTIEN. A recent discovery led me to CB Frozen Food, where they sold affordable Poon Choi, which looks visually promising too!

Taylor’s Chinese Society Tip #2:

Unleash your inner Iron Chef and challenge yourself by crafting your own Yee Sang. Here’s a tutorial to get you started. Remember to document making it and tag @taylors_chinese_society and @taylorsuni with your final product!

3. Reinventing the Festive Mood


Can’t set off firecrackers with your cousins? You can set them off right from YouTube! What’s more festive than fireworks? Visiting your relatives place and hearing some MyAstro CNY songs of course! Though you can’t visit your relatives this time round, you can definitely still play those good old songs! They do a great job at lighting up the mood without having to go out.

New Year's movies can be enjoyed at home too! Here are lists of some old favorites and some new ones to keep you entertained!

Bonus: Taylor’s Chinese Society will be releasing their CNY edition podcast on the 12th and 19th of February, so stay tuned for juicy stories on our sharing session!

Taylor’s Chinese Society Tip #3:

While you could also whip out a portable mic for some karaoke sessions, do be careful to not be too loud otherwise. You wouldn’t want the police to come knocking on your door with summons.

4. Reinventing New Activities


Every day is an OOTD day. Luckily, with Taylor’s Chinese Society CNY-themed Instagram filter, you’ll be able to show your new year’s outfit to the world in style! The filter also comes with Chinese quotes you can choose from to document the whole CNY week this Lunar New Year!

Taylor’s Chinese Society Tip #4:

If you’re looking to spice up your CNY greeting to your family, why not record your message using our IG filter and sending it to your family! We promise it’ll be super cute and creative.

And if your house isn’t already done with CNY decorations, why not decorate it to brighten the mood? Have a mini-inter-family home décor contest and just have fun. If you are feeling crafty, it’s never too late to DIY your decorations and hang your masterpiece now! Since, you wouldn’t be using all those ang pao packets this year, why not make use of them?


2021 is giving us a whole new experience of CNY that we will never forget. Even though Chinese New Year will be celebrated differently this year — fighting to flatten the curve and protecting all of us, always remember to keep in touch with your loved ones and remember to stay safe. Let’s keep the traditions and mood alive while giving and receiving e-Red packets. I pray that this year of the white metal ox will bring peace worldwide. 

Stay cheery! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Tay Yee Shien is currently pursuing Bachelor of Mass Communication (Hons) at Taylor's University. She is also the Secretary of the Taylor's Chinese Society, Director of Members Development in the Taylor's Handball Club, and a member of the ETC Magazine.

Tay Yee Shien
Guest Contributor