Chinese dragons and lions, night fireworks and magically lit temples, and many open houses for every person. Chinese New Year is celebrated all around the world, but each country or community usually adds its unique customs to the common set. This also can be observed in Malaysia, where a quarter of the total population is of Chinese ethnicity. How to celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Malaysia?
Is Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day a Public Holiday?
Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. Chinese New Year is the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. Every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign.
What is there to do during Chinese New Year in Malaysia?
Chinese New Year is perhaps the biggest and most important annual festival for Chinese and the Chinese communities world wide. The event is celebrated on the first day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Each year is named after one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Prior to celebrations, homes are cleaned and decorated by members of the family. Debts are also settled while offerings and prayers are made. Also, plenty of food is prepared and new clothes are purchased. Like any other event, family members from out of town and far away will come home for the gathering.
How to celebrate?
Chinese New Year is celebrated during fifteen days, which depend on the lunar calendar. New Year’s Eve, the first and the last day are the most important and are celebrated the most vividly. The first day is a national holiday in Malaysia, and the concept of the open house is widely practised. Not only private homes open their doors for friends, but the country’s leaders also hold open house parties where every local person or tourist can spend some time. During fifteen days people follow usual Chinese New Year traditions, like decorating streets and houses with duilian (a pair of scrolls with poetry), giving away red packets with money, visiting families and, of course, watching fireworks and lion dances.
On the last day of celebration, an old custom of Chap Goh Mei is followed by some modern variation. Single women throw tangerines into the sea with their cell phone numbers written on. Single men catch these fruit and try to meet their destiny. When staying in Malaysia, the best places to celebrate Chinese New Year are Chinatown or around Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur, and also in Georgetown city on Penang Island. By the way, the last location has many beautiful temples, which are lit with thousands of colorful lights during the New Year period.
Chap Goh Mei
Chinese New Year is celebrated for fifteen days with the main focus on the first three days. Chap Goh Mei, or the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year, is once again celebrated with much enthusiasm. Homes are again decked in brightly decorated lights and legend has it that young and unmarried women could throw tangerines into the sea if they wish to get a good husband. This tradition has undergone a modern twist where the females still toss Mandarin oranges into the sea but now they have written their telephone numbers on them. Men in boats will then row over and fish out the oranges! The singles carry out this practice good-naturedly and have fun with their friends on that final night of the New Year celebrations. Once Chap Goh Mei has passed, daily life resumes with each hoping to have a prosperous year ahead.
Fireworks in Malaysia – Chinese New Year 2020
In Malaysia many people light fireworks during Chinese New Year. At Chinese New Years Eve, you can enjoy fireworks until the deepest hours of the night. Also at other days, people will light fireworks. The best chance to witness this is in the more Chinese areas in Kuala Lumpur (like Chinatown, Old Klang Road/Kuchai Lama and many areas in Petaling Jaya) and also in cities like Georgetown (at Penang Island), Ipoh and Malacca. Hokkien Chinese in Malaysia also light a lot a fireworks at the ninth day of Chinese New Year, in celebration of the birthday of the Jade Emperor.
Kuala Lumpur Chinese New Year 2020 video
Chinese New Year in Malaysia 2020
The Chinese New Year which marks the first day of the lunar calendar is celebrated for 15 days and this is the most important annual festival for the Chinese community. The next Chinese New Year is The ”Year of the Rat”. According to tradition, the Chinese houses, the shopping centers, the present baskets are all decorated with blooming branches of apples and mandarin oranges. The use of the fresh and smelling flowers symbols plenty and good luck. The holiday atmosphere is emphasized by lions and dragon dolls that stir according to gong, cymbals and drums tones. In the eve of the festival, families gather for a holiday meal to whom relatives and friends are invited. This is an exciting time to be in Malaysia to stay and watch together with locals and tourists the traditional beautiful events.
Also known by the name of Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, the event is observed by the Chinese communities throughout the world, regardless of where they are. It is a cultural event and can a religious one too for the Buddhists, Confucians and Taoists who offer prayers. As the festival approaches, friends and relatives still exchange New Year greeting cards with each other despite the technology era. A family reunion dinner will be held on the eve of the New Year. During this time, bad language and any unpleasant or sensitive topic is strictly discouraged. It’s always best to be in one’s good behavior and only say good and auspicious things.
Chinese New Year 2020 in Kuala Lumpur
When you are staying in Kuala Lumpur during Chinese New Year you should definitely visit the Petaling Street area in Chinatown. Here the Chinese temples are crowded with locals that come there to pray. You can witness lion dances and people lighting fireworks. All shopping malls in the city showcase their Chinese New Years theme. They are all decorated and during the first few days you will be able to witness lion dances within the stores. This is done to make sure the store is blessed and that business will be great that year. The first days of Chinese New Year are the only days of the year that you will witness many stores closed, as most of the Chinese business owners are visiting their relatives in their home towns or home countries.
Chinese New Year 2020 on Penang Island
Especially Penang is a great place to visit during Chinese New Year. There are many beautiful temples in Georgetown, and all are crowded with Chinese Malaysians that come there to pray (mostly for health and prosperity during the new year). One of the most important temples at Penang Island, Kek Lok Si Temple, is especially interesting to visit. At night millions of colorful lamps transform the whole area in a beautiful scene. Locals come every night to witness the lights being turned on, it is a wonderful sight.
Traveling in Malaysia during Chinese New Year 2020
We find traveling through Malaysia during Chinese New Year very rewarding. We visited KL, Cameron Highlands, Penang, Kuching and Malacca once within the 15 days of CNY and we loved it. The atmosphere is very pleasant during these days. We loved all the fireworks and the amazing vibe at all the temples. Tourists that visit Malaysia during CNY should not pass up a chance to experience it up and close. Penang was by far the best place to be, especially the Chulia Street area was very nice.
It is especially nice if you get invited to have dinner at a local Chinese Malaysian family. Families usually invite friends (or even strangers) over for dinner on the 2nd or 3rd day of Chinese New Year as the first day is always reserved for close family. Extremely fun to witness and eat is Yee Sang; a special dish that is only served during Chinese New Year. Yee Sang contains many different vegetables together with other ingredients. Once ready people will toss the shredded bits into the air by only using their chop sticks. It is very important that it is all tossed really high into the air as it reflects the amount of good luck, health and prosperity they will receive.