Thursday, February 11, 2010


We may be modern in our ways and thoughts, but come Chinese New Year, we stop being anybody else but Chinese. PERISH if you do not follow the traditions and UNFORGIVEN especially in the presence of the elders.
RED and GOLD is the acceptable wear. Turn up visiting the relatives in BLACK 0r WHITE and you will create shock waves larger than a tsunami. Black and white are morning colours as in many other cultures We never SWEEP or MOP the house or its surroundings on the FIRST DAY of Chinese New Year, not even if some little rascal has left a mess like hurricane Katrina. We just bear with the mess and the sticky floors till the second day. Sweeping means "sweeping away the good luck/fortune and prosperty that comes with the New Year Make sure that the rice bins are filled to the brim with rice and there is sugar and salt. These are the essentials in any Asian house hold and the New Year must begin with an excess/abundance of these."BERAS" - RICE
We have as many rice varieties as you have different types of bread

Settle all your debts before the New Year or you will always be in debt during the in coming year. My mum was quite strict on this one and when we were kids, the four of us will be asking each other, "How much I own you?" "Ten cents," says the sibling. "OK, here is your money." Every debt to be settled, however big or small!

No swearing, cursing or mention of words like death, poverty, sickness - you know what I mean. To prevent getting into trouble, we kids really watched ourselves cos kids like squeeling on each other, and one wrong word will be promptly brought up to the elders, "Popoh (grandma), koko (big brother) called me stupid." Even though kids never got punished on this day, but one glare from grandma was enough to kill the New Year mood.

In the days when fire crackers were legal in Malaysia, the floors in front of our gates and entrances to our homes had a carpet of red from fire crackers. At the stroke of midnight, we lit our first fire crackers and continued doing so till the red papers covered the ground. But I am glad fire crackers have now been banned as they caused a lot of injuries to kids, burnt down houses and the sounds were deafening during the 15 days of the New Year.

We hang RED lanterns and a piece of red cloth at the entrance of our homes to bring in luck and fortune

And to top the list - have the lion dance. The lion is accompanied with thundering Chinese drums and cymbals and brings much prosperity. The lion dance is a very important event for businessmen, hotels and restaurants during the 14 days of the Chinese New Year.
A lion dance in school


FEBRUARY 14 2010 - FEBRUARY 13 2011


  1. I love all those traditions. Its amazing that everyone sticks to them, but also makes its it so wonderful too. The red and gold clothing is so vibrant, and that is really funny that you will create such scandel if you wore another colour. In Holland we have fire crackers at New Year - the streets are thickly covered with red papers for weeks afterwards. Have fun and Happy Chinese New Year.

  2. Just imagine if the British Government had to settle all its debt at the beginning of the year! It should do though...shouldn't it? :)

  3. Symbolism of the first day is the strength in the belief that all will be well. Even in the Hindy calendar year, the first day is important.