Chinese New Year
2011 – The Year of the Rabbit
The Rabbit Year
2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951
The Chinese New Year is the most important ethnic festival for the Chinese in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the whole of Malaysia. It celebrates the first day of the lunar calendar, and lasts for 15 days. The prelude to the festival is filled with much fan-fare, shopping and events around the city. Chinese around the country will eagerly prepare their homes for the big celebrations and reunions set to take place. As most Chinese in Kuala Lumpur are born in other states, the week before the first day of Chinese New Year is a massive exodus of people from the city to the outstation towns from which they were born ad where their parents still reside.
On the eve of Chinese New Year, the big reunion takes places as relatives gather together in their birthplace locations, usually in their parents’ or grandparents’ homes to catch up and have a feast. The whole house becomes a din of laughter and chatter from adults and children alike. During this time, red is an auspicious colour, symbolising prosperity and luck. This is birthed from an ancient Chinese legend of a monster that terrorised ancient China, which was finally scared away by the colour red and loud noises. Hence, homes will be decorated with red items such as lanterns and firecrackers while the Chinese will deck themselves in traditional red costumes.
Firecrackers are also an important part of the celebrations as it was used to scare away the mythological creature in ancient China. When the clock strikes past midnight, traditional Chinese firecrackers, which are shaped like a massive string of dynamite-like crackers, are lit and the extremely loud explosions are an auspicious start to the New Year! This is also a time where married folks will give ‘Ang Pows’, red packets filled with money, to their own and other children of their relatives and friends.
Many corporations and shopping malls as well as rich homes will hold ‘Lion Dances’ to usher in the celebration during the week that ensues. Lion Dances are a traditional Chinese dance using men clad in a colourful ‘Lion’ costume who will dance to the tune of huge, loud drums and climb poles to pluck an Ang Pow from a high spot.
Finally, the 15th day of the Chinese New Year is called Chap Goh Meh. This is a traditional Chinese form of Valentine’s Day, where unmarried Chinese women will toss tangerines into lakes, rivers and seas in the hopes of finding good partners. While this practice is most famous in Penang, Kuala Lumpur does have its fair share of lakes where Chinese women frequent to toss tangerines. Over time, it has even grown to become a contest where men in boats will try to scoop as many tangerines as they can as the women toss them from above into the waters.
Here is a Video of Top 3 Celebration of Malaysia:
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