HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days in general so I guess it is still not late to say that to all people who celebrate it 🙂 Hope you all have an awesome time with your family.
I had some of my friends from other countries who asked me about Chinese New Year because they never knew it existed therefore it encouraged me to make this post.
Chinese New Year a.k.a Chinese spring festival is an important traditional festival for Chinese people. It is as big as Christmas day in western countries.
It is also shown as the turn of the traditional Chinese calendar and Chinese zodiac. This year will be a roaster year and it will start on the beginning of Chinese New Year so everyone who born their baby after Chinese new year onward will have Rooster as their Chinese zodiac.
Chinese New Year Traditions
How is Chinese New Year celebrated in my culture:
Chinese New Year is treated as a public holiday. You will be entitled for two days off from office or school for this celebration. Chinese New Year is used as the time to gather with your families. Normally, people from other places far from home will come back to celebrate this festival with their family. So how is Chinese New Year celebrated in my culture? Here are few things that we usually do before and at the day of Chinese New Year.
1. Cleaning your Home
Cleaning your home is a typical thing to do before Chinese New Year. Most people will clean every corner of the house and make sure it is as clean as possible because most people believe that cleaning your home before Chinese new year will chase the bad luck away from home.
2. Decorating your home
Every street and building during this spring festival will be decorated with Chinese New Year ornaments such as lanterns, banners and pictures and most of them are in red colour. Red is always the main colour used during the festival which means good luck and joy.
3. Shopping for new things
Shopping close to Chinese New Year is very booming because it is believed that welcoming the new start with new things will give you good luck, therefore many people will fill their wardrobe with new clothes, shoes, etc. for their Chinese New Year preparation.
4. Having a lot of food, especially cookies
Same as Christmas, having lots cookies, cakes and snacks is one of the traditions for lunar new year. Every house will have their own cakes and boxes of cookies. Most types of cookies you can find at home during new year are snow white / momo cookies (my favourite cookies when I was a kid), pineapple tarts, peanut cookies, coco crunch cookies, dragon cookies or I call it sago cookies (my current favourite cookies).
5. Having a Dinner Reunion
Having a dinner reunion on the night before lunar new year is an important thing for families gathering and it is a must thing to do in Chinese new year tradition. Ordinarily, people will have a family dinner reunion sitting in big round table on the Chinese new year eve, get together and stay late to welcome the day of Chinese new year.
6. Visiting a temple
On the first day of lunar new year, normally my family and I will visit a few temples for praying for good fortune. It is a tradition to show the respect to our ancestors.
7. Lion Dance
Having lion dances around on Chinese new year is a usual thing to have. It is a traditional dance performance in Chinese culture that symbolizes the wisdom, fortune and power to dismiss the evil spirit out.
8. Giving and Receiving Red Envelops / Ang Pao
During new year, giving and receiving red envelops or ‘Ang Pao’ which have money in is a common thing. If you have not married yet or are not currently employed, you will be likely to receive red envelops from your family, relatives or colleagues. Giving red envelops is a symbol of good luck and good fortune for the receivers.
Chinese New Year Traditions in Malaysia:
Staying in Malaysia for a few years and having a few Chinese new year celebrations here, I can feel a few additional things to do on Chinese new year in Malaysia.
1. Prosperity Toss / Yee Sang
In Malaysia, normally people will be doing a prosperity toss or it is also known as Yee Sang with their family or friends. These traditional dishes will be served at the very beginning before eating the main meal. The Yee Shang usually contain dishes like small pieces of raw salmon, crispy crackers and mixed with a few varieties of vegetable strips. Once the Yee Shang is served, toss it with chopsticks together while mentioning your wishes. It is believed that the higher the toss, the better fortune you will get.
2. Receiving Ang Pao
In my celebration, once you start working, you will receive hardly any red envelops or Ang Pao. In Malaysia, you will be still getting Ang Pao even if you start working because their rule here is as long as you are not married, you are still entitled to get Ang Pao from married people. Therefore, I am likely to receive more Ang Paos in Malaysia lol.
What are your Chinese New Year Traditions? How do you celebrate Chinese New Year in country?
Thank you for reading and see you next time !