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CNY Flower Market
Photograph: Shutterstock

Things we hate about Chinese New Year

There are things we love, but no holiday is perfect

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Written by
Olivia Lai
&
Jenny Leung
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Chinese New Year is the biggest festival in Hong Kong, it’s even more popular than Christmas. It’s a great time to get together with the family while gobbling down all the tasty (but seriously fatty) food. And we even get to take some time off and enjoy a long weekend. But let’s be honest, the holiday comes with many bummers like interrogative relatives and ridiculous crowds everywhere. Here are just some of the things we’re not so keen on regarding CNY.

RECOMMENDED: Make this holiday a little bit more bearable with some tasty festive treats, or take some snaps at these beautiful festive spots in town.

Things we hate about Chinese New Year

It sucks when you’re single
Photo: Sohu

It sucks when you’re single

Okay, so it’s not as bad as during Valentine’s Day, but you still have to suffer a barrage of questions and interrogations from relatives during family gatherings. No auntie, I don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend. No grandma, I’m not having kids yet. No uncle, I have no interest in going on a blind date with your colleague's cousin's son's friend.

Festive tunes on loop
Photo: Olivia Colacicco

Festive tunes on loop

Just like how Christmas songs can really test our patience every December, Chinese New Year songs are just as bad – if not worse. Whether you're picking up some groceries at the supermarket or browsing through a clothing store, these festive tunes get played so much so that you'll walk out never wanting to hear the words 'kung hei fat choi' again. Ever.

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Eating until your burst
Photo: jen.lcl

Eating until your burst

One of the best and worst parts of Chinese New Year is the mountains and mountains of delicious food. Traditional Chinese pudding and turnip cakes are a must and auspicious dishes like fish, dried oyster, black moss and tong yuen usually make an appearance. Did we mention all the sweets and confectionery when it comes to bai neen? It’s literally been a month since all the Christmas meals and here we are, letting our arteries take a hit from yet another non-stop eating train.

Lai see are not environmentally friendly
Photo: jen.lcl

Lai see are not environmentally friendly

A huge part of the CNY celebrations is giving out and receiving red packets, or lai see. But let’s be honest, once we’re alone, we immediately take out all the shiny new cash and throw the lai see straight into the bin. It’s incredibly wasteful and as pretty as some packets can be, it’s almost impossible to reuse them. Luckily, there are some places in Hong Kong (check out Greeners Action) that recycles red packets every year, so remember to keep your lai see intact!

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Shops and restaurants closes
Photo: Tim Mossholder

Shops and restaurants closes

Granted, Hong Kong is relatively better compared to the Mainland where whole towns are shut. But where are we supposed to escape the relatives if our favourite nooks and spots aren’t open? Must we suffer through the hassle of cooking at home – especially those of us who hate to do so? At least food delivery is an option...

There's nothing good on TV
Photo: Glenn Carstens-Peters

There's nothing good on TV

You're bored out of your mind watching the same Chinese New Year film that you've seen about a thousand times, you try switching channels but only end up landing on yet another CNY special programme – you know, the one that looks exactly like the one last year and the year before? There's definitely a shortage in entertainment on the telly whenever CNY comes around, but hey, anything to avoid answering your aunt why you're still single, right?

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Getting squashed at the big festive events
Photograph: Shutterstock

Getting squashed at the big festive events

The annual Chinese New Year flower markets, visits to Wong Tai Sin temple, family meals at Chinese restaurants... the list goes on. As much as we wish to check out and soak up the atmosphere of these CNY events, we have to prepare to get pushed, shoved and generally feel like a sardine in a tin can. 

Beauty services hike up prices
Photo: Victória Kubiaki

Beauty services hike up prices

We all try to look our best for the numerous family dinners and gatherings – and to not give those annoying relatives even more ammunition – so it’s not uncommon that we pop into a hair and beauty salon beforehand for some beautification. But that’s when they get you and charge way more than they usually do – and expect a red packet and/or tip. Guess we’ll take the snide comments about our skin then. It’s good for the soul.

Want to know more about what's going down this CNY?

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