According to ancient tales, there was a mythical beast called Nian (Chinese: 年, the same Chinese character as “year”), which resided in deep water but would come to the land during the new year transition and destroy livestock, crops and villages. Villagers later discovered that Nian was afraid of the colour red, noise and fire sparkles. From then on, villagers would decorate their homes with red lanterns, red spring scrolls and use firecrackers to scare Nian away. And Nian never returned to the village again.

Nowadays, Chinese New Year is an occasion for family gatherings and reunions. Chinese families would cleanse their houses thoroughly in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for good luck. Red colour decorations such as paper cut lanterns would still be used but now to celebrate and wish for “good fortune”, “happiness”, “wealth” and “longevity”. Chinese people would also play firecrackers and lion dance to celebrate the festival.


During CNY, married couples send their wishes of good luck and fortune to younger generations, unmarried friends and relatives through red packets. A red packet usually contains money and is kept under pillow for seven days after the CNY.


Year 2014 is the year of Horse. According to the lunisolar Chinese calendar, each year has its own corresponding animal from the Chinese Zodiac which associates with a person’s relationship to the cycle, personality and/or events in life. According to Chinese folk story, the years on the calendar would be named for each animal in the order they arrived to the meeting called by the god, Jade Emperor. All the animals want to be the first in the 12 Chinese Zodiac. Back then, Rat and Cat were good friends and asked Ox to carry them across the river to the meeting. Hoping to win the race, the cunning Rat kicked Cat into the river and jumped to the shore from Ox’s back. As a result, Rat was the champion and Ox the runner-up. Poor Cat therefore did not get a place in the Chinese Zodiac and it swore to seek revenge on Rat. From then on, Cat became the natural predator of Rat.

And what animal sign are you? The witty Rat or the nice and helpful Ox?

Animal Signs
Sign Year
Rat 1936; 1948; 1960; 1972; 1984; 1996; 2008
Ox 1937; 1949; 1961; 1973; 1985; 1997; 2009
Tiger 1938; 1950; 1962; 1974; 1986; 1998; 2010
Rabbit 1939; 1951; 1963; 1975; 1987; 1999; 2011
Dragon 1940; 1952; 1964; 1976; 1988; 2000; 2012
Snake 1941; 1953; 1965; 1977; 1989; 2001; 2013
Horse 1930; 1942; 1954; 1966; 1978; 1990; 2002
Goat/Sheep 1931; 1943; 1955; 1967; 1979; 1991; 2003
Monkey 1932; 1944; 1956; 1968; 1980; 1992; 2004
Rooster 1933; 1945; 1957; 1969; 1981; 1993; 2005
Dog 1934; 1946; 1958; 1970; 1982; 1994; 2006
Pig 1935; 1947; 1959; 1971; 1983; 1995; 2007

Chinese New Year (CNY) is an important traditional Chinese festival. In China, it is also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, because Chinese calendar is lunisolar and in ancient times, the festival represents the start of spring falling on the spring solstice.


Chinese families will serve traditional Chinese food during the CNY, including:
Dumpling: It resembles silver ingot or money, symbolises prosperity and represents packaging luck inside the dumpling.
Noodles: Uncut noodles represent longevity and long life.
Cakes: Taro cakes, turnip cakes and CNY pudding are served mainly during CNY and not the rest of the year.
Fish: Fish, in Chinese “魚” pronounced as “yu” resembles the pronunciation of “餘” meaning surplus. Chinese families often serve fish during the CNY wishing for surpluses in the coming new year (in Chinese, 年年有餘)


Lion Dance is a traditional performance which mimics a lion’s movements in colourful costumes. During the CNY, performers will perform a Lion Dance
around the community, bringing good fortune to houses and shops. Sometimes more than one Lion will perform together and quest for green “vegetables” (Chinese character “菜”, pronounced as “cai”) like lettuce because it resembles the pronunciation of “fortune” (Chinese character “財”) and
fruits like an orange which is tied to a Red Packet that contains money. The Lion will pretend to swallow the treasures and spit out a red banner printed with greetings and best wishes, representing good fortune and wishes to the houses and shops.

Join the Chinese New Year Celebrations from January 31st, with Star Buffet and experience Lion Dancing, Lycee Packets and all the new year celebrations we have to offer.

Star Buffet is open 7 days a week for lunch from 11.30am and dinner from 5.30pm.