In a couple of weeks, the Chinese Lunar New Year will arrive. The exact date is on the 7 February (Thursday), and the 7th and 8th are public holidays in Singapore.
It’s a ritual. Once past their due, our unofficial office decorator will take down the Christmas decorations, and replace them with the Chinese New Year decorations. She even has a system for rotating decorations…
So along our partition walls, we have
The four Chinese characters are (from the left), “welcome spring receive blessing” literally. Feel free to replace “blessing” with “fortune”. The last character is a bit ambiguous in meaning. In this context, it just means something good.
Then we have
It’s a traditional thing to have the typical picture of a boy and girl around somewhere in decorations. I’ll have to go look it up why… The two sets of 7 characters, one on each side, is a bit harder to translate. The rough translation for the left set is “lots of good fortune, happy every year”. It can also be “great fortune, prosperous every year”. Chinese characters pack a lot of meaning into one word… The right set translates to “God of fortune descend (arrive), meet (have) good fortune”.
The ceiling wasn’t a problem for hanging Christmas decorations, so this is a cinch.
Those 3 characters literally translates to “year year have”, or “every year have”. Have what? That fish under the three characters? In Chinese, “fish” sounds identical to “abundance” (or “extra” to be exact). So that decoration signifies abundance in every year. In the past, when people were poor, this used to mean abundance in food, particularly rice, the main staple. Now it just means anything you consider to be good, like money or fortune.
And where the Christmas tree used to stand, the brightly and auspiciously coloured vase took its place.
The two orangey things are Mandarin orange displays. During the New Year period, we Chinese exchange Mandarin oranges (real ones) with each other. Why? Well, in Cantonese, Mandarin oranges sound exactly like “gold”. So we exchange “gold” with each other. More to the point, we give “gold” to another, and receive “gold” from another.
I know the phonetic similarities stretches meanings a bit, but Chinese are like that… *smile*