Lunar New Year is exhausting. The first 2 days, 初一 and 初二, are gazetted public holidays in Singapore, but more often than not, I find myself preferring to be chilling at home by myself, or back in the office.

Things I appreciate about CNY

Ang baos are always great, no matter the amount. Having to distribute them, I feel the pinch, but having collected a great many of these over the years, it’s time to give back.

Catching up with that favourite aunt/uncle or cousin is excellent. You get the chance to catch up, find out if they’re alright, and wish them well (at least until the next year, when you get to see them again). Some might make your favourite food, or offer you nice words that don’t involving pressuring you to make drastic life decisions. But…

Stuff that grinds my gears

Having to travel around our sunny island country (emphasis sunny) takes a toll on you, it really does. Bloody hell, today was hot. It’s always hot this time of year.

Meeting the extended family is always awkward. We only meet once a year, so its like putting a bunch of strangers in the room and asking them to behave like a family for the duration of 3 hours. There will be that aunt that’s showing off their son’s accomplishments, and the other one that’s trying to give you health advice.

So you’ve spent half a day doing your hair? Another few days shopping for the perfect dress? Spent 2 hours in the morning doing your makeup? Guess what, you’ll have an aunt that goes, “Eh, you gained weight already ah?”

“Yes auntie, thank you for not noticing everything else.”

“Eh, you gained weight already ah?”

Also, the questions directed to your married but childless cousins / siblings, “when are you going to have a kid?”

“Auntie, children don’t go on trees”.

“Auntie, children don’t go on trees”

Forcing conversations with people you aren’t too familiar with is difficult, more so an introvert like me, so I shy away from the challenge as often as I can. This is not a problem in daily life, but at CNY gatherings, escape is not an option. So things get awkward, people start staring into space, and I try to sink deep into the ground.

It’s at times like these that I’m amazed at how much some people enjoy talking. As a listener, it’s exhausting (sorry). I know so-and-so are doing great, and how they can’t come this year to the gathering, but really, there should be a limit to how much one can talk.

All in all, CNY is a celebration I could do without. It is exhausting, and I find myself wishing I’m a million miles away. My obligation to my parents are the only reason I attend.

What about you? Do you enjoy Lunar New Year celebrations?