Image: Wang Tom/123rf.com
If you’ve just tied the knot recently, Chinese New Year is about to become a very different experience for you. As a newlywed couple and someone’s Mrs, you’ve now become independent and have an expanded family – namely, your husband’s! – to visit and consider as part of your Chinese New Year plans.
While every family has different customs and expectations for married couples for the Lunar New Year, here are some reminders of what to do during the festive period.
Don't forget the angpows!
While newly-weds in their first year will still receive red packets from their elders, you'll still have to prepare your own for your younger relatives. If you're unsure about the amount to put in, look online for angpow guides, or ask your parents for a gauge. Even if you're not giving them out this year, don't forget to give angpows to both your parents, as well as grandparents, as a gesture of good luck and well wishes.
A rookie mistake is packing just enough red packets for the family members you think you'll visit at a particular house. Chinese New Year visiting plans can be fluid, which means you may drop by to visit your second aunt and nephews unexpectedly (or she might drop in!). That means you may not have enough cash or ang pow packets to budget. There may also be children at your relative's home you may not know, but you're expected to gift angpows to.
Always have extra notes and empty red packets stashed in your bag, so you can discreetly leave the room to pack extras if needed. Even if you don't need them, you can always loan them to your parents or siblings if they're in a pinch!
Speaking of angpows, here are the places to get the prettiest angpow boxes for your wedding!
Work out a schedule
Now that you're married, you have to decide which relatives on which side to visit on both days, as well as reunion dinner schedules. Ask both your parents to see if they've any preferences. Traditionally, you should be visiting your husband's side of the family on the first day, and yours on the second day. But again, it depends on your family's traditions.
Don't assume anything with regards to visiting expectations, and be flexible with visiting both sides of your family; your husband's and yours. It's easy to get into arguments over whose side to visit first, but this is one of the many compromises you'll need to make as a married woman.
Note the proper addresses
By that I mean your husband's relatives. Now that you're married, it's not proper to be calling everyone "aunty" or "uncle". It should be "second aunt", "eldest uncle", and so on to you. The same rule applies to your husband, too.
Drawing up a family tree for both sides of the family will be helpful, so you know how everyone is related to you. Some couples even make a game out of it, and test each other on how well they know each relative. (E.g. Do you remember if Uncle Chow is older or younger than my mother?) The loser could be tasked to tally up the angpow count- or be the designated driver on drinking nights!
Image: Chatchai Kimtong/123rf.com
Get your household ready
If you've moved out and are living on your own, don't forget that mum and dad won't be around to help you with chores such as spring cleaning, buying new year goodies, and so on now. It's time to be independent, and start stocking up on your own treats and cleaning up for guests.
And if you're looking to impress your guests, get inspired by these stylish cafes are totally #interiorgoals for your marital home.
Be prepared for the multitude of questions
Now that you've tied the knot, the next thing all your relatives will be asking, is when you'll be having children. If you're not ready to answer that, ask them to look to your husband for an answer, or counter the question with another question (preferably one your relative will be happy answering).
See also: AUSPICIOUS WEDDING DATES IN 2019!
Text: Felicia Tan/Her World, Additional Reporting by Lisa Twang for The Singapore Women's Weekly.