All set to paint the town red

Shoppers browsing at a fair selling Chinese New Year decorations and mouse plush toys for the Year of the Rat in Ang Mo Kio on Tuesday. ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI A woman (above) posing for a photo with tangerines at a Chinese New Year goods stall and stude
Shoppers browsing at a fair selling Chinese New Year decorations and mouse plush toys for the Year of the Rat in Ang Mo Kio on Tuesday. ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI
Shoppers browsing at a fair selling Chinese New Year decorations and mouse plush toys for the Year of the Rat in Ang Mo Kio on Tuesday. ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI A woman (above) posing for a photo with tangerines at a Chinese New Year goods stall and stude
A woman (above) posing for a photo with tangerines at a Chinese New Year goods stall and students checking out a God of Fortune statue in Chong Pang City yesterday.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Shoppers browsing at a fair selling Chinese New Year decorations and mouse plush toys for the Year of the Rat in Ang Mo Kio on Tuesday. ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI A woman (above) posing for a photo with tangerines at a Chinese New Year goods stall and stude
A woman posing for a photo with tangerines at a Chinese New Year goods stall and students (above) checking out a God of Fortune statue in Chong Pang City yesterday.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Hot on the heels of the Christmas and New Year festivities, preparations for Chinese New Year are well under way across the island.

This year, Chinese New Year falls on Jan 25 and 26, which are a Saturday and Sunday.

The following Monday will be a public holiday for those whose rest day falls on Jan 26.

With the Year of the Rat on the horizon, a scurry of decorating with rat-and mouse-themed displays is taking place and will continue in the coming weeks.

These decorations are predominantly red - as the colour is believed to be auspicious in Chinese culture - and gold, symbolic of good fortune.

Aside from paper and plastic decorations being put up, mandarin oranges are also traditionally exchanged by the Chinese during this season while they visit one another's houses.

This practice originates from southern China. The Cantonese pronunciation of giving mandarin oranges - "song gam" - is the same as "giving gold", which signifies wishing prosperity for the recipient.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2020, with the headline 'All set to paint the town red'. Print Edition | Subscribe