As Malaysians, most of us are familiar with Chinese New Year as a public holiday, but how many of us really know about the fascinating Chinese New Year traditions that go along with the holiday? Today, we are going to find out more about these CNY traditions.
1. Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is an important tradition leading up to Lunar New Year. Before Chinese New Year begins, we will start doing thorough cleaning all throughout the house. You will also often see people replacing old furniture and throwing away unwanted things in their houses. For example, if you are using your toothbrush for long time, you should replace it with a new one this CNY.
“Out with the old, in with the new!”
After spring cleaning, we will hang up decorations like red paper cuttings with auspicious words or zodiac characters, ang pow decorations, and auspicious items. Usher in the 2018 Year of the Dog with a cute MyPuppy-Beagle toothbrush cover decorates the bathroom.
2. New Year Eve Dinner
Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner is the most important night of the year for a Chinese family, also known as the family reunion dinner. Every family member will brave hours and hours of traffic jams, travel thousands of miles to “balik kampung” in order to have dinner together. The reunion dinner symbolizes a good start to the New Year while also bonding the family.
3. Fireworks & Lion Dance Performance
One of the loudest traditions of the Chinese New Year falls on the night before Chinese New Year. As the clock strikes 12, rows and rows of firecrackers will be lit up at the same time. The louder the firecracker, the better it is. The reason for this racket is that the Chinese believe the loud noises will scare away evil spirits and drive away bad luck. We will also see many beautiful fireworks in the skies everywhere.
In Malaysia, it is common for companies to have an annual CNY celebration and during these celebrations; people will invite a lion dance troupe to perform. During the 15 days of CNY, these lion dancers may go around your neighborhood or invited to shopping malls/events to perform. The dance is commonly performed to bring good luck and drive away evil spirits, and the lion dancers may be accompanied by flute and drum musicians.
4. Red Packets 'Ang Pow'
One of the most popular traditions of Chinese New Year is the giving of angpows. An angpow (red packet) is a monetary gift given during the Chinese New Year by married adults to children. The red packets symbolize good luck and it is believed that the money in the envelope will suppress the evil from the children. In Malaysia, the ang pow is no longer exclusive to Chinese anymore. Over time, Malays and Indians have adopted the idea and also use it for their own cultural celebration.
5. Tossing of Yee Sang
Did you know about this particularly unique tradition among the Chinese communities in Malaysia? Tossing of Yee Sang, also known as Prosperity Toss, people always shout with auspicious phrases “Ong”, “Huat”, “Heng” while tossing the Yee Sang. The higher you toss, the better your luck will be. Yee sang has become so popular in Malaysia it was declared a Malaysian heritage food by the Malaysian Department of National Heritage. Historians say it was created at a restaurant in Seremban in the 1940s, which first served the salad during Lunar New Year celebrations.
6. Mandarin Orange
In the days leading up to Chinese New Year, you’ll see Mandarin oranges just about everywhere in Malaysia. Mandarin oranges are lucky in the Chinese culture and it symbolizes prosperity.
“Good things comes in pairs”
The Mandarin oranges must come in either pairs of 2s or 4s. People visit relative house/ friend house with either two or four mandarin oranges which they present to the host of the homes they visit. The host will give them another set of oranges as a way of returning the blessings.
Now you know a little bit more about the CNY traditions in Malaysia. Are you all prepared for the Chinese New Year? Flipper team would like to take this opportunity wish our customers and flipper fans a Happy Chinese New Year ~ Gong Xi Fa Cai!