Gong Xi Fa Cai! Get ready to hear this Chinese Happy New Year greeting several times a day over the next few weeks. That’s because it’s Chinese New Year in Malaysia, one of the biggest holidays in the country, which falls at the beginning of the year according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
Each year is named after one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and this year will see us enter the year of the Tiger. To help you get your head around what you need to do and when we’ve got the lowdown on all you need to know about this important festival and have also pulled together a list of some of the most common Chinese New Year traditions.
WHAT IS CHINESE NEW YEAR?
Chinese New Year is the biggest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar and, as a quarter of the population in Malaysia is of Chinese descent, it is a national holiday that is of huge importance. Chinese New Year marks 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.
WHEN IS CHINESE NEW YEAR?
Chinese New Year lasts a total of 15 days, though only the first two days are public holidays. These are February 1 and 2, 2022.
WHAT TO EXPECT
On Chinese New Year’s Day there are literally hundreds of activities going on including decorating with duilian (a pair of scrolls with poetry written on them), giving angpau or ang pow (see below) containing money, visiting friends and families, having family meals and gatherings, playing cards and betting and watching dragon or lion dances. While each country celebrates the New Year in a similar fashion, the concept of open house is practiced here in Malaysia where everyone opens up their homes to friends and family, regardless of race and religion. KL residents leave the city in droves and many shops and restaurants are closed over CNY so be sure to call ahead.
CHAP GOH MEI: THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF CNY
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. Once Chap Goh Mei has passed, daily life resumes with each hoping to have a prosperous year ahead.
CELEBRATE WITH THE KIDS!
There are many traditions and customs to keep in mind during CNY and this, coupled with the fact that there is so much going on in and around KL, can be quite overwhelming! Make sure your kids don’t miss out on the coming CNY by reading our complete and comprehensive guide to CNY in KL here.