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As a child, Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) meant good food, new clothes, spring-cleaning, angbaos of cash from parents and elders from various branches of my extended family, and an all-round sense of festivity.

All these things still ring true, except for the cash part (because I’m too old to be collecting those!). As a big fan of food and clothes (and family), Chinese New Year remains my favourite holiday.

The holiday also has a long tradition of “out with the old, in with the new”, in all senses of the word. You’re saying goodbye to the good and bad of last year, and ushering in a new year of (hopefully) good luck and fortune. Buying new stuff is symbolic of all that, but at a practical level, it’s also just an occasion to go through your stuff once a year and throw away the junk, and replace whatever needs replacing. If you didn’t grow up particularly well-off, this might be the one time of the year you get new clothes. Or eat well, for that matter.

I don’t think…

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