This year Chinese New Year, or CNY, fell on Saturday, January 25. Many companies already closed on Friday and for everyone in Malaysia today, Monday 27 January, counts as a public holiday! What strikes us most is that it is very quiet on the streets. No traffic jams, no long queues in the supermarket and closed restaurants. Many families leave the city and go back to their families in China. We are used to the shops being closed at Christmas and New Year. On these days in Kuala Lumpur, everything was open in contrast to CNY.
Good harvest season
The New Year is also called the Spring Festival. This festival marks the end of the cold days and welcomes spring and everything that goes with it. The festival is a ceremonial day to pray to the gods for a good planting and harvesting season. People also pray to their ancestors because they are treated like gods.
With Chinese New Year a lot of fireworks go up in the air. This is to scare away monsters and misfortune. The myth tells us that there was a monster named Nian who frightened everyone on New Year’s Eve. A brave boy hit him with firecrackers and fireworks and the monster disappeared. The next day survival was celebrated with the shooting of more firecrackers. So now the firecrackers are used during New Year to welcome the New Year and happiness.
In the weeks before the Chinese New Year, not only the shopping malls turn red, but the supermarkets are full of tangerines. Tangerines play an important role during this huge festival. The Chinese word for tangerine is ‘kam’ and this sounds the same as gold. So when you have this fruit in your house during the New Year, it means wealth for the rest of your life. When you are celebrating Chinese New Year with a family in their house, it is common to give tangerines to the head of the family. With this, you wish them happiness, prosperity and wealth.
A lot of traditions and this is not even all! In any case, we are looking forward to seeing what else awaits us.