Red lanterns and Chinese-themed decorations have begun to appear at malls, accompanied by the music of chimes, cymbals, and boisterous drums. These mark the beginning of a new Lunar Year. This year, the Chinese community will be celebrating the Year of the Fire Monkey that begins on the 8th of February 2016.
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days. There are quite a few cultural practices to be observed when celebrating Chinese New Year, here are just a few of the most important ones:
Any and all kinds of cleaning activities should be conducted before the start of the Chinese New Year festival, as sweeping the floor is strictly prohibited on the first three days of the festival. It is believed that, when you sweep your house during Chinese New Year, you are sweeping out the luck and prosperity with it. Cleaning only resumes on the fourth day.
New Year Decorations
During Chinese New Year, some of the most common decorations include Chinese Red Lanterns, Red paper cuttings, couplets of Chinese poetry, peony flowers, and cherry blossoms.
This is the only time of the year when we will get mandarin oranges almost everywhere in the markets. Mandarin oranges are believed to be an auspicious symbol, closely related to prosperity and good fortune. In Malaysia, Mandarin Bonsai Trees are placed at entrances to buildings, they are believed to usher in a wealthy new year. People will tie red ribbons and other decorations made from red packets (Angpao) on the branches of the tree.
Perhaps the most important part of the festival that everyone looks forward to takes place on Chinese New Year Eve, is the Reunion Dinner. It is a time of unity, bringing togther family members, who may otherwise be far away for the rest of the year. A wide spread of dishes would be prepared for the feast, including the Yee Sang (traditionally eaten on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year, but is now conveniently available during the entire 15-day celebration).
The giving of angpaos is a traditional Chinese culture to signify the sharing of prosperity. Usually, the custom is practiced by married couples. However, for those who are financially independent, they will also distribute angpao to their loved ones who are older than them like their parents, and their younger siblings who still do not have an income. E-angpao are increasingly accepted by the younger generations, and by those who are unfortunately overseas during the festivities.
As Chinese New Year approaches, some of you will be packing to go home for the long-awaited festivities (and the long weekend too). P1 Networks would like to with you a safe journey home, and enjoy the company of family at home (talk to each other, not send text messages!), and most importantly, make time for what you love.
Have a prosperous year ahead, with good health and good wealth. Gong Xi Fa Cai!