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MCO edition: Dos and Don’ts this CNY!

With the declaration that MCO will be extended till February 18th 2021, Chinese New Year 2021 will be the latest festive occasion that will take place during a national lockdown.

But with the latest *announcements allowing for gatherings among close family members, as well as other socially-distanced activities still possible, there is still a way to make the best of this CNY!

Follow this handy guide as you usher in the year of the Ox, maximising those festive CNY vibes while still keeping you and your family safe.

DON’T: Break MCO rules or be complacent on good hygiene practices!

With SOP guidelines allowing for reunion dinners of up to 15 people, family members within the allowed 10km distances will be able to visit each other to share a meal and celebrate the new year.

However, while some families will be overjoyed with the reuniting of children, parents and grandparents, the covid-19 pandemic is unfortunately far from over. Wherever possible, continue with good hygiene practices such as wearing a mask (especially around high-risk members of the family such as older aunties, uncles and grandparents), and washing your hands regularly especially when arriving from outside into your relative’s home.

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If you want to play it extra safe, why not get members of your household tested before making that visit? Simply search online for the nearest testing site around where you live, and allow for a quick swab to grant you some welcome peace of mind for your reunion dinner.

DO: Dress up for the occasion!

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The ushering in of the lunar new year in many ways signifies the renewing of luck for the year. As such, it the way you present yourself represents the good luck you would like to attract for the months ahead.

Besides wearing new clothes (new year, new threads!), it is encouraged to wear bright shades of red in order to harness more ‘ong’ and positivity.

Bonus related Don’t: avoid black or white clothes, which in Chinese culture are reserved for more sombre occasions.

DON’T: Forget to offer a gift

Whether visiting your family or extended family, it is important not to show up empty-handed.

Some gifts are especially no-nos in Chinese interpretation, for example never gift a clock as they denote ‘running out of time’; no gifts in solid black or white colour (once again, colours associated to mourning); no objects with the number 4 (we already know why in Malaysia!), and no sharp objects as they symbolise a ‘severed relationship’, so no scissors or knife sets for the kitchen!

Stick to a no-fail CNY gift such as wine or a hamper of edible goodies, and create a good luck generosity cycle with your fellow family members.

And for those who live more than 10km away and are unable to balik kampung this year, checkout the Gemspot app for gift delivery options (and enjoy FREE delivery all this month)!

DO: Clean your home AHEAD of time!

There is a huge superstition in Chinese culture that cleaning your house on the first day of the new year symbolises the hardships you will experience for the whole year ahead, in addition to that you will ‘sweep your luck away’,

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

And so the best practice for getting your home festive ready is to clean your home a few days before the first day of the new calendar – making sure to have completed all your cleaning chores before midnight on CNY eve.

Same principle on personal grooming: If you know you are due for a haircut, or your nails are looking like they need a trim the week before, get those done before the first day of CNY, so that you keep with you the luck that befell your household at the stroke of midnight. In fact, don’t even wash your hair on the first two days of CNY for maximum prosperity!


*information correct as of time of writing (7 February 2021). MCO status and restrictions regarding CNY celebrations may be updated post-publishing.

Checkout the Gemspot app to scroll through the wide variety of CNY gifts ready for ordering, and even enjoy free delivery all throughout February 2020 (for up to 25km)!

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