1. Take off your shoes before entering the house
You would not like having dirty footprints all over your house, would you? The host family’s effort in spring-cleaning would be wasted, plus they would have to clean again.
2. Do not open ang pows in front of the giver
It is considered a rude gesture and reflects badly on your upbringing. Ang pows symbolise good luck, the amount inside should not matter.
3. Black outfits are a no-no!
Usually, the elders will mind this more than the younger ones, so try not to wear black even if it is your favourite colour. You also don’t HAVE to go overboard and wear red from head to foot…
4. No touchee. SERIOUSLY.
While visiting, try not to touch things in the house without permission. If you do, handle with care and place them back neatly before leaving. Monitor your kids — bubba might not be able to stay still and might start playing with anything they can find, including the host’s children’s toys. Remind your child that the objects do not belong to you, and help put toys and things back in place after use.
5. Chew with your mouth closed
While there are a lot of mouth-watering goodies for you to munch on, remember not to drop crumbs and pieces everywhere. If you do, pick them up (with tissues if you’re squirmy). Remember that more traditional families cannot sweep the floors during Chinese New Year (“sweeping away your good luck”). Don’t make a mess!
6. Age before beauty
Present your oranges to the oldest members of the host family first. And always greet elder guests before the rest.
7. Two Mandarin oranges, a smile and a greeting
Mandarin oranges represent luck and prosperity. Also remember to greet everyone you see with the biggest smile and say auspicious greetings like “Gong xi fa cai!” or “Gong xi, gong xi!”. After all, it is a festival!
Photo: Models: Tricia Tan, 2 & Caleb Lucas Ang, 4.