Happy New Year, Good luck and prosperity to you for the Year of the Pig.
Gong Hey Fat Choy!
I am having precious insight into the preparations and traditions around celebrating the Chinese New Year as I am currently staying with two young Chinese women. Decorations, mostly in red and gold have been up for several weeks in the shopping malls and recently also in private houses. Grocery stores are selling the traditional NY food, packeted in red and gold and heaps of cartons of mandarine oranges which people bring to each other’s houses for good luck and prosperity. Last week I visited a Chinese Temple and enjoyed the sight of hundreds of red lanterns leading to the entrance of the temple in preparation for the NY.
Houses are cleaned, depths paid, cars and clothes repaired and at least one new item to wear on the first day of the New Year is bought, ideally this new item is red, but also any of the beneficial colors that goes with the animal of the starting year is ok.
Shopping malls are attracting shoppers with special CNY presentation. On Sunday Don and I went to see an acrobatic lion dance performance. The accompanying loud drumming and the wild and daring dance are believed to send all evil spirits away.
You want to welcome prosperity into your life for the beginning new year.
I have learnt that traditionally the Chinese live and eat simply for the whole year and only for the beginning of the New Year they get out their best plates and do not hold back to buy the best food they can afford, again to attract abundance for the year to come.
My airbnb host invited me to come with her to the family’s reunion dinner on the eve of the NY.
It is very important to come together as a family and enjoy good and specially prepared food on this day. I was the only foreign guest for the evening and really enjoyed the abundance of different dishes, none of them tastes much like anything I normally eat, the most extraordinary was pork prepared in rice vinegar.
There is lots of travelling going on before and over the first days of the NY. Chinese whoses families live in far away towns are expected to travel to meet family and friends. My hosts’ friend took the whole week off work to travel to the South of Malaysia and then from there to two other places to celebrate. All people in Malaysia enjoy a public holiday for the first and second day of the year. Everybody is emanating good vibes as good as they can, the general mood is upbeat. Also roads in KL are much quieter these days as many, particularly Malay and Indian people take the opportunity to go for a holiday.
My time in Malaysia is coming to an end tonight. I will be leaving very early tomorrow morning to go back to Berlin. It has been a colourful and rich time with ups and downs, some unexpected turns and lovely encounters. I am grateful for the two months I spent here.