CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION IN PENANG / MALAYSIA 




PENANG - CHINESE CULTURE OF LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION

The Chinese immigrants from China, had brought over the Chinese culture of CHINESE NEW YEAR or lunar new year, which falls on the 1st day of the 1st month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, usually around January or February each year. 

 
chinese new year heritage celebaration in penang

As majority of the people in Penang are Chinese, celebration of Chinese New Year is in very grand style with lion dance troupes visiting from house to house.  Although it was a tradition to celebrate for 15 days, only the first 2 days are always declared as a public holiday in Malaysia as time has changed traditions in today's commercial world. But what remains unchanged for this festive occasion is the new lunar year's eve, that is, the day before arrival of the new lunar year, where all family members from near and far, will definitely return home for 'reunion dinner'. The spirit of close family relationship is strongly enhanced every year, especially for those living far away to earn a living.  Working adults would give some money as gifts to the elderly family members as respect and appreciation.  And the money given as gifts would be put in a red envelope called 'ang-pow' in local hokkien dialect, meaning red packet.  The 'ang-pow' is meant to bring good luck to the recipient.

 

The colour red is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.  Red cloth is usually hang across the main door on occasions of weddings, new house warming, and Chinese New Year.  Decorative items which are artistically designed  using in Chinese characters, particularly with good blessing meanings, are hang around the house to

create the atmosphere of a new lunar year.  Potted plants and flowers are placed at every visible spots around the house.

 

 

 

 

Children will be most happy during the lunar celebrations as they too can collect a lot of 'ang-pow' for the elders.  Mandarin orange is widely consumed and also given as gifts not only among the family members, but also to friends, working  colleagues and neighbours, irrespective of whether they are Indians, Malays or Eurasians.  It's really a gesture goodwill and harmony.  Mandarin orange when translated in the Chinese dialect literally means 'gold'.  So the cultural practice of using Mandarin orange is to give and receive gold for prosperity throughout the year.

 

Lots of delicious good food is cooked during this festive occasion using abalone, mushroom, Chinese sausage, chicken and all other expensive and quality ingredients which are not usually bought due to cost factor.

And many of the local Chinese company 'towkays ( business owners ) would generously arrange and invite their workers to dinners at the restaurants during the festive mood to enhance closer relationship.

 

Not all Chinese are Taoist or Buddhist, as some of them are Christians too.  But for sure, the belief is that everyone will pray for good health, prosperity, peace and harmony in the family as well as in their country.

 

And all the Chinese would always happily put on new clothes and shoes to welcome a new year, with high hopes and expectations of improvement in their health and all good wishes to be fulfilled in the coming year ahead. 

 

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