Chinese New Year takes place in many places around the world to some degree, in fact wherever the Chinese people have had any influence, but here in Malaysia it is a BIG and very important festival!
It is actually a 15 day long, very colourful, noisy and happy festival, although it is usual in Malaysia to just have a week off work.
People start cleaning out their homes, baking delicious cakes and cookies and buying new clothes a few weeks before this auspicious event! Homes are decorated with bright, usually Red and Gold decorations and lanterns are hung everywhere they can be hung!
For those who are considering a visit to Malaysia, the Chinese New Year period is well worth considering. This year, Chinese New Year of The Goat 2015, is no exception!
On New Year’s Eve families get together, travelling from all over the globe to get home, and have sumptuous and happy reunion dinners. This is followed by lots of happy recollections and at midnight the new year is welcomed in with wonderful but noisy firecrackers and beautiful firework displays!
On waking up on the first day of Chinese New Year, everyone dresses in their new clothes and children and unmarried adults greet their parents with, ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ and are given ‘Ang Pow’ which are red packets which contain money!
The first day is usually a family day. The following days are spent visiting friends and relatives. This is known as ‘Open House’ where people just turn up and are greeted with food and drink and children are given more Ang Pow!
Lion Dances are abundant and their drums are very noisy. (The poor dogs unfortunately do not enjoy this at all!). Lions do very clever acrobatic stunts to retrieve Ang Pows hung up high and ‘eating’ the symbolic oranges which are everywhere!
The shopping centres usually stay open these days but in the old days everyone stopped work to enjoy this fantastic festival.
Well worth timing your visit to Malaysia to coincide with Chinese New Year, but you will need to check your dates as it follows the Chinese Lunar calendar so the date differs year by year!