FILLING UP BEFORE THE NEW YEAR BEGINS
LiFTED talked to 6 Asian Hip Hop artists about Lunar New Year traditions
The Lunar New Year holiday means different things to different people. Kids love it because they eat treats, get red envelopes from their older family members, and don’t have to go to school. It’s a great time to meet distant family and friends, share stories and snack on amazing food at all hours of the day and night. Also, the time between January 1 and whatever date Lunar New Year falls on is a bit of a reset, so people can get ready for the new year to begin.
We caught up with some of our favorite Asian Hip Hop artists before the break, to see what they had to say about their customs and traditions for the Lunar New Year holiday.
In Singapore, we get two days of public holidays for Chinese New Year. We have reunion dinners, 团圆饭 together, gatherings with family members, and hang up decorations on the doors and walls of the house with plenty of red paper, upside-down calligraphy, and poetry verses about good fortune, happiness, health, and wealth. We also spring clean the entire house before the new year, let go of the old to welcome the new.
Sadly, we’re not celebrating this year because of Covid!
In the good old times growing up, the day before the first lunar day, we ate as much as we could at our grandparents’ home. The whole family is there, too. We call it ‘getting full before the new year begins’ On the very first morning we wear our traditional clothes and go to our grandparents and greet each other with holiday-specific greetings such as Амар байна уу? [Amar baina uu?], meaning ‘Are you living peacefully?’ Then we visit friends and family all day and exchange gifts. I usually gain about two kilograms because we really eat a lot!
For me, Lunar New Year has always been the time when the whole family drops whatever they are doing, wherever they are, and gets together. A time for union and celebration of a new year! Lots of food, even when I was young and living in rural Yi Chang, I remember on Chinese New Year we always ate good - if not always on the regular.
Lately, it’s been hard since Covid and I haven’t been able to go back home to Chengdu, but I still celebrate it here with loved ones. Here’s a picture of me lion dancing back in High School for CNY!
This year's goal is to make some music for SmashRegz and also prepare my new album. I wish everything can get back to normal soon because I want to get on a plane and visit my friends overseas.
The thing is that not every Asian artist celebrates the Lunar New Year! I think only the ones with Chinese heritage do. I’m a quarter Chinese but I’m raised in a Thai cultured environment, so we hardly practice any Chinese customs. But I’ve been making music for brands for their New Year campaigns.
The other thing I’m working on is the media agency I founded last year, xyren.co. It’s my take on the business side of things and the catch is that you get a real charting and award-winning artist to create for your brand.
Aside from that, I might go to the beach with my friends during Lunar New Year.
CNY is a very special holiday that highlights the uniqueness of Chinese culture and is a period of time when people travel home to be with their families and celebrate the start of the new year. My favorite part is being able to spend time with my family and enjoy my grandmother’s cooking, and although I’m not back in HK for CNY this year I am very blessed to be in the company of my second family at IRIS [Harikiri's new Chengdu label!
I’m really excited and grateful to spend CNY in China for the first time in five years, and to spend it with people I used to dream of working on music with, and who have grown into a family now. This is a true blessing.