Lunar New Years customs that you have observed in Taiwan

For folks who have participated in the Lunar New Years holidays with a family in Taiwan, either because you’re related to them by blood/marriage or because they’ve invited you over as a guest, I’d really appreciate hearing what kind of customs and practices you have observed around celebrating the Lunar New Years holidays.

I want to do a better job of replicating the experience for my kids growing up in NYC but relying on generic articles on the Internet seems fairly unreliable in terms of authenticity.

Any cool details or descriptions would be appreciated. No detail is too small to mention.

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Spending x dollars on scratchcards to “win” x/3 dollars back?

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Today was New Years Eve. Have a big family dinner. If I am in Taiwan at home, I have gone once but most eateries are closed. I go the temple the people I live with for byebye which is some what common (depends on family, varies a lot). The day after have leftover food and some local events. I almost never travel far if I am in Taiwan. For kids red packs with a little cash (even older kids like 30 get them).

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I prayed at the family shrine to my in-law ancestors earlier this evening.

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Pretty standard stuff for us, done to varying degress each year. Red envelopes for the kids. My wife has them sleep with it under their pillows New Year Eve–not sure if this is standard. Making treats. Oranges and stuff on the table in the foyer. Big cleaning in the weeks and days leading up to CNY but not on CNY. Standard CNY decorations around the house. Big meal with the right CNY foods. Visiting relatives after the first day.

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I forgot the big clean up at home and the office. The girls do this more, I get in the way for the most part.

How much do you typically spend and win, just out of interest? (More interested in the ratio than the absolute values, in case there’s a Lunar New Year scratchcard addiction you’d prefer to keep secret. :wink: )

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Nice, I got nothing more than 100, got more the sales invoice lottery (1000+200) the past period (Nov-Dec)

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Thanks to Covid, this is my first time being stuck here for my CNY break. So far I have observed the customs of closed restaurants and longer waits for the MRT.

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You may be projecting :slightly_smiling_face: Not big into the scratchers but maybe will give it a shot this year!

Edit: sorry, just realized I responded to you instead of the OP. Now I really have to get some scratchers!

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eating cold food that has been left out all day and cleaning the house. enjoy!!

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And sometimes we get the kids lanterns for lantern festival. One year they did a mini-parade with some other kids in the area. When they were little we tried to get to some CNY events in the area and last year we went up to the LA Chinatown for the parade. Love the lion dances.

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Respect, brother. That must have taken quite a few G&Ts.

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My wife half-jokingly suggested doing this tonight, so it’s at least somewhat common.

Biggest thing that makes CNY stand out in our family is all the dishes arrayed on the family altar, and praying first to Guanyin, then to the ancestors. Incense held in both hands; silent prayers, three small bows for each, after bowing, place incense stick in little urn: using left hand, not right, I discovered tonight. I guess my wife always did that for me before, and tonight was the first time I’d been trusted to do it myself. And I got it wrong!

Not just cooked food is placed on the altar (incidentally, that’s why dinner is often lukewarm or even cold). Cookies and bought foods are too. I was hunting for the chocolates I’d brought and was disappointed to see they were on the altar. Didn’t ask but I assume at that point opening the box before the baibai would have been uncouth.

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Did you/family put beer there? (I saw lots of beer at the temple tables today)

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Definitely no beer. There was red wine with dinner; whiskey was talked about but never appeared. I didn’t notice if they were on the altar-cabinet-pullout table thing; my (ok by this point the ancestors’) chocolate cookies had most of my attention, probably to the extent that Guanyin thought I was being quite disrespectful.

Beer is frowned upon at the in-laws. Or rather, by a portion of the in-laws, due to vaguely alluded to past indiscretions by the other portion of the in-laws.

Oh note this was in the apartment, at the altar in the living room. We didn’t go to a temple. I’m not even sure how common those sorts of altars are these days.

My phone keeps autocorrecting Guanyin to Guantanamo. This amuses me.

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I was told the old country forbid all gatherings, so lion dances were out of the question. Real pity, I loved them when I was little and would have loved if my nephew be and nieces saw them. Alas, not this year.

Usually I send decorations back. My dad puts them up. I guess they could buy their own, plenty of Chinese stores now in the old country.

My door is decorated, I have a few envelopes ready for friends’ kids. My neighbors’ kids get candy for Halloween and Christmas from me but not red envelopes.

And I will spend the holidays trying to avoid all invitations. I am not leaving my bed.

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We don’t decorate our outside door anymore. House was burgled a few years ago and the police said that Asian families were being targeted because of a tendency to have cash and gold jewelry at home. Unfortunately, we helped confirm the stereotype.

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Put and “I’m in the NRA and I shoot first.” sticker on the door as well.

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They scout your house and know when no one is home.