Chinese New Year is one of the most significant yearly celebrations observed by the Chinese community worldwide. In Malaysia, the Chinese community observes this festival known as the Lunar New Year.
Following the Lunar Calendar based on the 12 zodiac signs, Chines New Year usually comes around in the beginning of the year. It could be as early as mid-January or into the middle of February of every year.
The first day of the new year is most important. To the Chinese, it signifies a new start to the year where everything could possibly be new. Some would visit temples. On the eve of the first day, the entire family usually come together for a reunion dinner which is regarded as one of the most important events for any family. Many would travel from overseas home for this dinner.
Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days. From the first day, the families will wish each other with prosperous and kind phrases. There is no place for negative vibes. Children wear new clothes and homes are spring-cleaned to signify renewed hopes and dreams.
Red is the most common colour during Chinese New Year. As such, you would see a lot of homes decorated with red cloth on the doors and gates, red buntings and others. The elders will give red packets (known as Ang Pow) to the kids and unmarried for good luck. Red firecrackers are lit and heard across homes.
On the fifteenth day, Chinese New Year concludes with the observation of Chap Goh Mei (translated as fifteenth night). This is commonly known as the lover’s day for the Chinese. Single women will throw mandarin oranges in the river with their names in the hope of finding their life-partners.