Ang Pow, Lantern Festivals, Lion Dance, Fireworks! These fun and exciting Chinese New Year 2020 Traditions make the Lunar New Year one of the biggest public holidays in Malaysia!
Chinese New Year 2020 will be on 25 January (Saturday) to 26 January (Sunday) and will be the Year of the Rat. But preparations for an important holiday starts even sooner! Think months before the actual celebration!
Why are We Celebrating Chinese New Year? (A Short History on the Lunar New Year)
Ancient Chinese Legend
Chinese New Year celebrations & traditions started from a legend long time ago about a fight between villagers and a mythical beast: the Nian.
The Nian always terrorized the village; eating their livestock, crops and even their children every first day of the New Year. Trying to please the beast, the villagers left food at the front of their doors hoping the Nian would leave their village alone.
Soon the villagers found out that the Nian monster is afraid of the color red and fireworks. So every first day of the Chinese New Year they hung red lanterns and scrolls on their windows and doors. They also lit firecrackers to scare the Nian away. The beast never came back again after that.
Another history for the origin of Chinese New Year came from Ancient China’s old Agrarian Society.
Before (17th century BC – 1046 BC), the Chinese people were mostly farmers so Seasons were very important to them.
That’s why one of the reasons to celebrate Chinese New Year is to welcome Spring Season after the cold and dark Winter Season.
10 Fun Traditions You Need to Try this Chinese New Year 2020 Malaysia
1. Spring Cleaning & Putting Up Chinese New Year Decorations with Family
Cleaning can make some people lazy, but it’s one of the most important traditions of Chinese New Year (especially in Malaysia!)
It’s normal for families in Malaysia (whether you’re Chinese or not) to do “spring cleaning”. Usually they throw out old stuff they don’t need anymore and replace it with new things.
The belief in this tradition is that when you clean the house, you will clear away bad luck and welcome good fortune
And if you’re going to do “Open House” then Spring Cleaning is also important!
Open House is when families invite guests like neighbors, officemates, friends and other relatives into their “Open House” to celebrate the incoming Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year Decorations
Decorations, like Christmas, also play a big part in Chinese New Year preparations. And each decoration has its own meaning and symbolism:
- Red Lanterns are for driving away bad luck
- Door Couplets have all the best wishes and are posted on the doorways
- Paper Cuttings are for Luck and Happiness
- Kumquat Trees are for Wealth and Good Luck
2. Chinese Afternoon Tea at Kuala Lumpur
Chinese New Year (whether it be Malaysia or other countries) are never complete without Family Reunions! And one of the more recent Chinese New Year traditions is drinking Chinese Afternoon Tea when reuniting with your family.
Over Afternoon Tea you can catch up with family members and talk about distant relatives whose names you forgot (but are too afraid to say.)
3. Visit China Town at Petaling Street
Where else should you go for Chinese New Year but in China Town? If you’re in Kuala Lumpur during CNY 2020, you should definitely visit Chinatown in Petaling Street.
You can see all the Chinese New Year traditions celebrated here, from performances like Lion dance and Dragon Dance to fireworks and even baking traditional cakes. There’s also Chinese decorations everywhere, be it lanterns or ornaments.
But remember that most Chinese establishments will be closed on the first few days of Chinese New Year ‘cos they’ll be away visiting family and relatives.
4. Watch Lion Dance & Dragon Dance
No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without the Lion Dance and Dragon Dance. Drop by any mall in Malaysia and you’ll see Lion Dance & Dragon Dance performances!
5. Go to Jonker Street Night Market on Chinese New Year’s Eve
Malaysians LOVE their Pasar Malam. It’s also one of the perfect places to go to during Chinese New Year’s Eve.
The CNY Celebration will be especially beautiful in Jonker Street! At this time of the year, Jonker Street will be filled with red lanterns and Fortune Money Trees!
6. Eat Dinner at the Family Reunion
Of course, nothing beats eating dinner reunion with family and friends on Chinese New Year!
Even Malaysians who aren’t Chinese love to celebrate this tradition! They can be invited to a dinner by a local Chinese Malaysian family on the 2nd or 3rd day of CNY. The 1st Day is specially reserved for close family members, after all.
7. Toss Traditional Yee Sang
And part of Family Dinner Reunions is the tossing of Traditional Yee Sang.
Traditional Yee Sang is a special dish that’s only served during Chinese New Year! This traditional dish has different vegetables all shredded and put together with other ingredients.
People will “toss” traditional Yee Sang high up into the air using their chopsticks! It’s fun and a significant tradition. The higher one tosses their Yee Sang, the more good luck, good health and good fortune they will get for the entire year.
Tossing the Yee Sang
8. Gamble on your Luck with Friends and Family
Chinese People love gambling! So it’s no surprise that gambling with friends and family is one of the most celebrated Chinese New Year Traditions.
The following gambling games are usually played on CNY:
- Ngau / Gnau
- Lap Lap Fu (Pia Pia Fu or Chinese Poker)
- Ketam-Ketam (Yu Hai Hai or Crown Anchor)
- Mahjong and Mahjong Gin and many more!
If you really want to beat your family and friends this Chinese New Year, you better practice playing now!
Good thing online casinos in Malaysia have Free Demo Games of these gambling games, like in trusted online casino EMPIRE777:
9. Enjoy the Lanterns and Fireworks in Kek Lok si Temple
Penang is also one of the best places in Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year!
Kek Lok Si Temple is best visited at night thanks to the wonderfully red lanterns and Chinese Hokien Culture Activities.
There’s Chinese Calligraphy, Baba Nonya performances, Drum performances and even a Chinese orchestra!
10. Don’t forget your Hongbao (Ang Pow!)
And last but not the least, don’t forget your Hongbao or Ang Pow (Cantonese)! Greet fellow-Malaysians with a happy “Gong Xi Fatt Chai!” (the official CNY Greeting, which means to wish that you be prosperous in the coming new year).
And for those who owe you a hongbao or ang pow, say: “Hong Bao Na Lai!” which translates to “Red Envelope Please!”
Do you agree with our list? Share this with your friends and family and have a Happy Chinese New Year 2020 everyone!