How a Malaysian Chinese Family celebrates the Chinese New Year

3 02 2011

Happy Chinese New Year 2011

We are Malaysians, were born and bred in Malaysia. Our forefathers came from China many, many years ago and settled here. Although we only know of Malaysia as home, we practice many rich and meaningful Chinese cultures because our parents taught us what they learnt from their parents. In the same way, we want to pass these precious practices to our children and our children’s children.

One of the things that we really enjoy doing is to shop during for new clothes and shoes for the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. This tradition probably meant a lot more for our forefathers many generations ago. Most of them were poor and could only afford a new set of clothes once a year and they would try to get that for their children even if they could not afford it for themselves. Of course it is a tradition that is conveniently kept by us now, especially if we love shopping! We try to get something for our children every year, so they are very blessed indeed.

The eve of the Chinese New Year is a very important day as all the members of the family returns to their parent’s home. The gathering together of the clan is a joyous occasion. There is a great dinner that night. Allan and I will go to the market a day before and start preparing for the meal by 3pm. Every year my mom will join us and we try to invite some others who do not have their families in Malaysia. Allan is a great cook and I am great at washing up and setting up šŸ™‚ I think we make a great team!

Allan’s famous “pak cham kai” – “white chicken”

Good food makes people happy!

 

Another very important culture we maintain at home is the giving of ang pows which is done with a tea ceremony. On the first day of the Chinese New Year, our children will serve us tea and give us a blessing. We then give them an ang pow (money packet) and give them a blessing in return. If your family has never done this, you should try it.

Just before the tea ceremony

Andrea preparing the tea

Serving tea to dad

And then to mom

After that, we leave home to visit family and friends. We visit those who are senior in rank.

The delicious “siew yok” at one of my uncle’s home.

 

Enjoying my Bak Kut Teh – all the way from Klang, no less.

Sweet desert

My mom and my grandaunty

We only buy new clothes for the new year – my uncle buys a new car for Chinese New Year!

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