Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Malaysian Chinese New Year Festival

Chinese New Year festival is right around the corner. According to Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year begins on 23rd January 2012 and ends on 6th February 2012 (on the day 15th). It is a major holiday and the most important festive celebration among the Chinese populations in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Tibet, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and also in Chinatown in foreign countries.

There are some important beliefs and custom to follow when celebrating Chinese New Year. It is the tradition that every Chinese family clean the house thoroughly in order to sweep away any ill-fortune before the first day of Chinese New Year. Sweeping and house cleaning is strictly NOT allowed during the first few crucial days of Chinese New Year as Chinese believe that good fortune will be swept away from the house during the festival. Chinese families decorate their houses, windows and doors with red colour paper-cuts and Chinese New Year decorations with popular themes of 'good fortune," "prosperity," "happiness," "wealth," and "longevity." 

On the eve of Chinese New Year (or also known as Lunar New Year), is the biggest event for Chinese communities. All the family members gather together for dinner feast which include fish, duck, chicken, pork and some vegetable dishes. After the dinner, some Chinese families visit temples to offer prayers while others prefer to stay at home watching television and waiting for the countdown. There are some young Chinese adults prefer to catch some movies with friends at cinemas. During the Chinese New Year celebration, Chinese families, including children, put on their new clothing and shoes and to pay respect with mandarin oranges to offer new year wishes to their elderly, relatives and friends. It is the happiest moments for children and young unmarried adults to receive ang pow (red packets) from their parents and married couples. 

Although Chinese New Year is widely celebrated by Chinese communities in the world but, Malaysia has developed its own unique identity in terms of food and celebration for this festival.

Malaysian Food and Cookies:
Nobody could resist the tasty, crushiness and sweetness of the cookies. You can find similar cookies in Asian supermarkets but many of the cookies are imported from China and Hong Kong which taste differently from the authentic Malaysian Chinese cookies.

Kuih Bangkit (made of flour, eggs and coconut milk) (Photo: http://messywitchen.com/)


Shrimp roll cookies: it is similar to egg rolls but this is small and slightly spicy (Photo: http://www.mymalaysiabooks.com/)


Kuih Kapit: it's similar to love letters from Hong Kong but this is thinner and crunchier (Photo: http://en.petitchef.com/)


Pineapple Tarts (made of flour, eggs and pineapple jam) (Photo: new-year-card.blogspot.com)



Kueh Bulu (Bahulu): made of flour and eggs (Photo: http://neckredrecipes.blogspot.com/)


Peanut cookies (Photo: http://bakecookeat.blogspot.com/)


Peanut Puff (Kok Chai, made of flour, eggs and peanuts) (Photo: http://neckredrecipes.blogspot.com/)


Fried Crab Stick Flavoured Chips (Photo: http://www.elinluvdelights.com/)


Fried Bee Nest (made of flour and eggs) (Photo: http://www.malaysiabest.net/)


Nga Ku (Cantonese) / Ya Ku (Mandarin): fried chips from chinese arrowhead (Photo: http://foodbuddy.net/)


The Entree: Malaysian Special Lou Sang (in Cantonese, means mixed together) is a must to serve with families and friends during Chinese New Year:

The ingredients for Lou Sang consists of all kinds of vegetable with some raw salmon and crackers on a big plate. (Photo: http://hungerhunger.blogspot.com/)

Tossing Lou Sang with pairs of chopsticks and shout your wishes. It's believed that the higher you toss, the higher your good luck would be achieved for the year. Most Chinese hope for prosperity. (Photo: http://hungerhunger.blogspot.com/)


Malaysian Lion Dance and Dragon Dance:
Traditionally, lion dance is commonly seen during Chinese  New Year. The lion dance troupes visit houses, shops and companies to perform the traditional custom and simple dance routines in hope to bring good luck and fortune to the businesses. However, Malaysian Lion Dance is not just an ordinary lion dance performance but emphasized on stunning acrobatic and teamwork. The most amazing (interesting) part is to watch at the detailed coordination of developing the dragon's character including blinking eyes and moving ears. Malaysian Lion Dance, particularly Kun Seng Keng Dragon and Lion Dance Association is a world class championship lion dancing association since 1991. 


Acrobatic Lion Dance by Kun Seng Keng Association at One Utama shopping mall, Malaysia to welcome the Year of Water Dragon on January 2012. (Video by jolmytv)





Another dragon dance performance by different association at Pavilion KL shopping mall, Malaysia to welcome the Year of Water Dragon on January 2012. (Video by megatrend007)





Dragon dance performance at Mid Valley megamall, Malaysia on January 2012 (video by megatrend007)





24 Festive/Seasons Drum performance at One Utama shopping mall, Malaysia. 24 Seasons Drum was invented and founded by Mr Tan Chai Puan and Mr Tan Hooi Song (Malaysian Chinese) to form and train their students at Sekolah Menengah Foon Yew (Foon Yew High School). (Video by jolmytv)





Before ending my post, I would like to share my favourite Malaysian Chinese New Year music video. The rhythm is not only modern and catchy but I like the concept of this music video. It shows the unity and spirits of Malaysians from different background like, culture, age and gender, from 13 states and Kuala Lumpur (as federal territory) in Malaysia. I hope you enjoy this mv (by Astro Malaysia) as well.

开心乐龙龙 - MY Astro 新年万人MV [高清版]

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