Chinese New Year 2017- A Year of Celebrations
The New Year is here and so is another year of celebrations and festivals. A new year not only brings in cheer and hope for wonderful days ahead but also gives us another 365 days of anticipation and celebration of all kinds of special occasions in our lives and the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is certainly one of them.
Read on to know everything about this special festival(CNY) in Malaysia
- When is the Chinese New Year in 2017
- Origin and History
- Gift Ideas
- Festival Food
- Best Places to go
- Online Shopping during Chinese New Year
When is the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) in 2017
The Chinese New Year also known as the Spring Festival is all set to be celebrated on January 28th in 2017 which is also coinciding with a weekend, allowing people to make the most of all their celebrations. January 27th is New Year’s Eve that shall mark the beginning of all celebrations that are expected to continue into the following week. This auspicious day is also earmarked as the first day of spring, ushering in the best season of the year. Since this date depends on the lunar calendar, it varies every year but always falls in the months of either January of February.
Origin and History
The Chinese New Year is an annual festival that originated in China and is celebrated by people of Chinese origin all across the world. This festival has been celebrated for more than 1000 years or may be longer that dates back to even before the Qin dynasty with complete Chinese traditions including religions practices. This celebration also has spring time prayers, offerings, family reunions, special festival food, lanterns, decorations, fireworks and new clothes that are some highlights of this important festival that started as early as the Yao and Shun emperors according to some.
Exchanging gifts forms an important part of the celebrations for the Chinese New Year. You can always plan and buy gifts for your near and dear ones well in advance for this special festival and add to all the fun. Red, yellow and gold are auspicious colors for this event as they symbolize wealth and prosperity while white and black are two colors that are best avoided because they are commonly associated with funerals and death. Apart from these colors, you also need to keep in mind the wrapping paper or the bags in which you pack your gifts for this festival.
For Friends – It is all about fun when it comes to friends so you can pick gifts with this in mind. You can buy alcohol, fruits, candles, home décor, crockery, electronics & gadgets or even tea to your Chinese friends in Malaysia to add to their New Year fervor. You can buy fruit baskets especially oranges or mandarins or tangerines and apples because they signify fortune and safety! If you are racking your brains for a last minute gift then flowers can come to your rescue because they are much loved gifts by one and all!
For kids – If you are looking for gifts for younger members of your family, then you can opt for candy, ‘Ang Pau’, school items, books, toys, clothes, etc. ‘Ang Pau’ or red packets are traditional paper packets with money. Since red is a color for good luck, these packets are decorated with Chinese symbols like dragons, tangerines, golden pineapples, willows, etc. and all you have to do is keep some new money in them before you give them away as gifts. There is no hard and fast rule for how much money you need to keep, you can choose any amount and denomination depending upon your budget and affordability but this is certainly one of the most convenient gifts for children because these red packets are easily available online as well as in stores.
For Seniors – If you are wondering about what to gift the senior members of your family for the Chinese New Year, then gloves, scarves, hats, clothes are some wonderful gift ideas. Think of gifts that bring warmth and comfort to old for the occasion.
Every celebration is incomplete without food and so is the Chinese New Year. If you are in Malaysia during this unique festival, then you ought to try out some of the traditional delicacies that are easily available to get a true feel of the festival.
Yee Sang – This is a popular dish consisting of thinly sliced vegetables, strips of fish, ground peanuts, sauces and other condiments. It is must have ritual at family dinners wherein everyone present tosses the ingredients high up in the air as a gesture to welcome abundance and prosperity.
Myth has it that higher the vegetables are tossed, more is the good luck!
Leek – This is another popular dish for the Chinese New Year and another must-have for most. Also, known as ‘Suan’, the word rhymes with ‘counting and planning’ and it is supposed to improve the ability to counting, planning and judgment skills.
Sticky Cake – Also known as ‘Nian Gao’, the traditional sticky cake is made of rice flour, brown sugar and oil and consumed for new heights and achievements in the new year. These are usually eaten with sesame seeds or red dates that are also symbolic of every element of the Chinese New Year.
The Tray of Togetherness – This is another common tradition that you can spot in most houses for the Chinese New Year festivities. With eight compartments, this tray usually consists of coconut, longans, red melon seeds, candies, peanuts, kumquats, lotus seeds, etc. Eight is considered to be an auspicious number for prosperity, hence the eight different offerings in a single tray.
Best Places to go
The Chinese New Year also means holidays for many. Even if you are not partaking in the traditional festivities, you can head to one of the many places in Malaysia and treat yourself to a wonderful holiday and time away from work! So, if you are in this beautiful country, find out where you can head to during the Chinese New Year weekend in 2017.
Penang – One of the most popular islands in Malaysia, this is where you can go for this New Year and expect to see an amazingly lit up Georgetown, the main city of the island. The ‘Kek Lok Si’ temple is one of the main attractions of the island along with countless other beautifully decorated temples that are lit up with colorful lights. You can stay up at night and wander on the streets as you experience a different Penang altogether.
China Town – This is a famous area in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur that has sizeable Chinese population. You can witness lion and dragon dances on the Petaling Street along with fireworks and decorated temples that create a vibrant and cheerful atmosphere.
Temples across Malaysia be it the Puh Toh Tze temple in Kota Kinabalu city, Hong San Si temple in Kuching, Thean Hou temple or Chan See Shu Yuen temples in Kuala Lumpur. Every temple is beautifully decorated and lit up in bright dazzling lights for this festival that make them a visual treat for the eyes. Apart from these you can also visit shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, etc. That are decorated with the Chinese New Year theme during this period of celebration.
Online Shopping during Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is yet another reason for you to shop online for all that you want for yourself, be it your home or family. There are countless sites in Malaysia that offer rock bottom prices and special deals for shoppers across all categories of products. If you are lucky then you can also get some special offers like the early bird or week day discount. In addition to these offers, you can also get additional price cuts if you use online coupons or vouchers. Be it travel, health and beauty, home, gadgets or anything else, you can get the best of offers if you shop online for the Chinese New Year.
With so much to do for the Chinese New Year in Malaysia, are you all set to make the most of this wonderful festival that is simply a fortnight away?