The most important celebration for the Chinese community, Chinese New Year is just around the corner. This is the time when we gather with our family members and friends, having meals together, exchanging red packets, catching up on life events, and spending quality time together.
As much as we’d like to make up for the times we have missed spending time together, we must remain cautious in order to protect ourselves and our family from the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here, we share eight tips on celebrating Chinese New Year the safe way.
1. Clean your hands before giving out ang pow
The red packets, also known as ang pow is something that the young ones look forward to when it comes to Chinese New Year. The young will convey well-thought wishes to the elders, while the elders bless them with red packets filled with money as a symbol of happiness.
However in times like these, it is best to make sure our hands are thoroughly cleaned with soap and water before handing out ang pows as our hands are the main source of microbial transfer. Better yet, opt for e-ang pows where you can simply transfer money via online transactions.
2. Keep windows open for ventilation
Diseases and viruses are more likely to spread in stagnant air and closed air-conditioned spaces. In contrast, spaces with good air circulation reduces the risk of spreading diseases. Therefore, it would be best to maintain good air flow in our homes by keeping the windows open, especially when there is a large number of people. To ensure that guests are comfortable in our homes, set up additional fans in common areas.
3. Make hand sanitisers available around the house
Hand sanitizers are one of the most effective ways to eliminate harmful microbes in times of a pandemic. It goes without saying that hand sanitizers should be provided around the house if we’re expecting guests.
Place it at the entrance of the home so guests can disinfect their hands before entering. This ensures that family and guests, including vulnerable folks are protected from any possible infections.
4. Disinfect high-touch contact points
Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect. Cleaning with water alone is not enough to kill germs on surfaces. When someone leaves a high-touch contact point, we can disinfect the area using disinfecting sprays or wipes. Common touch points include doorknobs, table tops, armrests, doorbell, living room, remote control, and bathroom.
Once we have our homes back to ourselves, we can do a thorough cleaning to properly disinfect all surfaces.
5. Get tested before meeting up
Virus spreads efficiently during indoor gatherings and meals, where we have prolonged contact without masks. For a peace of mind, and to keep family and friends safe, we can take a rapid test that shows results within 30 minutes.
Although the vaccine keeps us from contracting the virus, we can still pass it on to someone else. Therefore, testing ensure that the spread of virus is contained. For more accurate results, drive to the nearest Covid-19 testing centre to get tested before any Chinese New Year visit.
6. Pack treats and snacks individually
What’s Chinese New Year without its unique snacks and treats? Oh, the mandarin oranges, kuih kapit, pineapple tarts, mini popiahs, and fortune cookies... Traditionally, they are served in large sharing bowls that get passed around to everyone in the family.
This year, we can play it safe by packing our favourite festive treats individually, or in smaller portions on tiny plates. By doing so, we’re reducing the risk of spreading germs to others.
7. Wash mandarin oranges with clean water
It is common practice to exchange mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year. Before sharing our mandarin oranges, make sure they’re clean and thoroughly washed. The same applies to oranges we receive from family and friends. Before indulging into the sweet, juicy festive fruit, do wash them with soap and water so we can enjoy them safely.
8. Lou hei using audio on your phone
There is something about shouting out auspicious sayings while we toss the yu sheng that makes the tradition so lively. In light of the pandemic, we might want to play it down to keep everyone safe.
Technology has transformed many traditional practices for our convenience. We could get creative this year and play audios of auspicious wishes and phrases from our phones instead.
Chinese New Year is all about reconnecting with our traditional roots and bonding with our family members. Let us be socially responsible this Chinese New Year by taking care of each other through simple yet effective methods in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Have a safe Chinese New Year!
Source: Christina Chong