The American Club is Singapore’s favourite Social and Sports Club, a unique private community where Members ofmore than 60 nationalities with diverse and dynamic cultureand their families enjoy superb facilities, outstanding dining expereience and a high level of service.

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Jul 15, 2024

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A Mosaic of Spring Festival Traditions & Celebrations

Our Team Members Share Their Annual Family Traditions

As we usher in the joyous season of Spring Festival, The American Club brings you a diverse collection of stories from our Team Members, each showcasing their unique traditions and treasured moments during this special time of the year. They share their heartwarming experiences, seamlessly blending cultures and preserving beloved family traditions, creating an unforgettable Spring Festival celebration.

From Personalized Red Packets to Auspicious Bank Deposits

Vanessa (second from the left) and her colleagues from the Accounts team all decked in festive colors at the 2023 Team Members Spring Festival Celebration.

Vanessa, Senior Accounts Executive. Vanessa has one daughter and two grandsons. She looks forward to the yearly Spring Festival tradition of exchanging old bank notes for new ones to prepare her ang baos (red packets). Occasionally, she opts for customized designs featuring the year’s zodiac animal. During the Spring Festival celebration period, she presents these ang baos to her loved ones, wishing them good fortune. With each carefully packaged ang bao, Vanessa hopes to bring the same joy to her loved ones that the unique designs have brought to her.

Vanessa follows another tradition by depositing money into the bank on an auspicious date and time determined by her zodiac sign. This practice, known as Li Chun (Beginning of Spring), is the belief that depositing money into one’s bank account during these auspicious times ensures a year filled with good fortune and a stable income.

Vanessa and her family make it a point to have the Spring Festival reunion dinner together every year. Even now as her daughter has her own family, she keeps the various Spring Festival traditions that Vanessa has passed down to her. Vanessa feels that this is important, to ensure that the culture is not lost to the future generations.

Memories of Family Traditions in Fujian Province, China

Lei Dong’s family are all smiles as they coax the younger ones for a group photo with the God of Fortune mascot.

A familiar face to Members and wine connoisseurs is Lei Dong – the Club’s Head Sommelier. Lei Dong is a Singaporean and is a second generation immigrant from China. He arrived in Singapore when he was 18 years old. Now with a family and two sons, Lei Dong’s fondest memories of celebrating Spring Festival traditions are from his hometown in Fujian Province in Southern China.

He fondly recalls the bustling preparations leading up to the Spring Festival. The family would embark on spring-cleaning, going for hair-cuts and then, separately with his wife and in secret, joyfully pack ang baos for the children. On the eve of the Spring Festival, the family would light up the night skies with fireworks to pave the way for a heartwarming reunion dinner. Afterwhich, they would catch the Spring Festival Gala together. One tradition that resonates deeply with Lei Dong and his family is the auspicious tradition of savoring longevity noodles on the first morning of the Spring Festival. Yet, the pinnacle of their celebration lies in Lei Dong’s father’s annual preparation of Quan Jia Fu (completeness of the entire family) dishes – symbolizing the father’s prayer for unity and happiness.

Lei Dong also acknowledges the changing landscape of traditions. In the past, extended families would come together, relishing snacks and cherishing each other’s company while enjoying the popular Spring Festival Gala TV show. Lei Dong laments the evolving nature of the Spring Festival, observing the trend of family members turning to their phones instead. Despite this transformation, Lei Dong is determined in preserving the golden era – the warmth of family and the undivided presence of each individual.

Mastering the Art of Family Traditions

Adel’s and her family’s labor of love has evolved over the years.

Adel, Assistant Purchasing Manager is married to her husband who is from a Chinese community in Myanmar. To Adel, the Spring Festival is more than just the few nights of feasting and joyous celebration, it is also the weeks leading up to the festivities.

Every year, Adel adorns her home with handmade festive garlic decorations which the family gathers. Adel chose to use the garlic as a decorative ornament because the garlic is known in Mandarin as ‘Suan Tou’. This ‘Suan’ is how the Chinese term the auspicious action of ‘Counting’ – symbolizing enough money for one to count, which bodes well for the Chinese. Adel would also make additional pieces to share with her extended families

On the eve of the Spring Festival, the family will gather for a reunion dinner, followed by spirited sessions of poker, hearty conversations, and laughter echoing into the late hours. The evening then crescendo with the family settling down to watch the Spring Festival countdown on television. Adel’s heartfelt Spring Festival well-wishes include Gong Xi Fa Cai (prosperity), Shen Ti Jian Kang (good health), Xin Xiang Shi Cheng (success) and Xue Ye Jin Bu (advancement) and she extends them to each of our Members reading this article too!

Lights, Filial Piety and Legacy: Eleen’s Spring Festival Blessings

Eleen’s (second row from the bottom, first from the left) multi-cultural family squeezes into the frame for a group photo.

Meet Eleen, our Director of Spa and Retail Services. Eleen’s heritage is a beautiful one, with her grandfather from Hong Kong and her husband’s ancestors rooted in Yemen. As the Spring Festival approaches, Eleen invites us to explore her family’s cherished traditions.

A spring-cleaning ritual usually sets the stage, accompanied by extensive shopping sprees and the ordering of handmade Spring Festival candles. Eleen’s favorite Spring Festival delicacy is the Salmon Yu Sheng with Mushrooms & Fa Cai. Eleen recalls with delight, the traditional candy boxes filled with dried fruits, nuts, melon seeds and chocolate. The family’s highly-anticipated Spring Festival tradition is the Shou Sui or “Guarding the Year”. The house will stay well-lit throughout the night of the eve of the Spring Festival. Gathering after the reunion dinner, the family will keep awake for as long as they can; representing the children’s blessings of longevity and prosperity for their parents. Eleen’s personal touch to this tradition involves waking up at dawn to light a candle. This symbolizes the dawn of a bright and prosperous new year. Her fondest Spring Festival memories include shopping at Chinatown’s bazaars and gathering at her late aunt’s home for a home-cooked Cantonese meal, where the space would be filled with love and laughter.

Eleen wishes everyone with her favorite Cantonese greeting, “Kung Hei Fatt Choi!” – which translates to “Congratulations and best wishes for a prosperous new year!”

Stanley’s Joyful Traditions and Festive Chaos

Stanley’s sons at a community Spring Festival celebration.

Meet Stanley, our Fitness & Leisure Manager. Stanley’s sisters-in-law are of Chinese descent, and every year without fail, they would invite him and his family for a hearty and delicious Spring Festival feast in their home.

Stanley also acknowledges that it isn’t the Spring Festival if classics like Pineapple Tarts or the Lo Hei (prosperity toss) do not make their entrance. We were told that his two sons would go crazy lifting the morsels higher than they ought to, shouting, “Huat ah! Huat ah! More toys ah!”. It is quite the chaos that Stanley enjoys and cherishes.

Should the family decide to travel during the Spring Festival, they would head up to their uncle’s place at Horizon Hills in Johor Bahru to not only reconnect with family, but enjoy the rarity of setting off fireworks. Stanley finds the warmth of families gathering and reconnecting most memorable. He enjoys seeing families spending time together, sharing and indulging in festive goodies. This is the second year that Stanley is spending his Spring Festival at The American Club. He looks forward to the lovely décor that will be put up, and the decorative festive lights that speak of good times ahead.

Fusion of Cultures: Cheongsam Moments and Family Feasts

(Left) Filzah and her husband in one of their stops around the world.
(Right) Filzah’s mom in their Arabic Spring Festival feast.

Filzah is our Member Services Operations Manager. She is a Singaporean with Arabic roots, and her husband is of French descent.

As she lived abroad for the past 15 years, she always traveled the world with her husband during the holidays. This year, she looks forward to donning her first Cheongsam in the Club and to celebrate this festive season.

Every year, Filzah’s mom would prepare an Arabic feast during the Spring Festival public holiday in Singapore. The dishes are from traditional Arabic recipes that were handed down from generations. Family members gather around their dining table to partake in this delicious reunion dinner, exchanging stories and laughs. The joy is not only confined in Filzah’s home as it has been a yearly tradition to share these wonderful food with neighbors. As we approach the Club’s Spring Festival celebrations, let us also remember our fellow Members-turned-friends and even work colleagues who do not celebrate the festivities but could do with a warm invitation.

This consolidation of our Team Members’ stories serves as a celebration of diverse cultures, cherished customs, and the universal joy that binds us all during the Spring Festival.

As we eagerly await the arrival of the Spring Festival celebrations, may these stories inspire you to create your own traditions and share the spirit of joy, unity, and good health with your loved ones.

To one and all, Xin Nian Kuai Le, Long Ma Jing Shen! Meaning, Happy New Year and may you be as spirited as the Dragon and strong as the Horse!

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