Chinese New Year is the most significant holiday in the Chinese calendar and one of the biggest holiday in Malaysia. Chinese New Year is celebrated nationwide by the chinese community here in Malaysia and this festival usually took place in the beginning of the year which ranges from January 21 to February 20. In 2019, Chinese New Year 2019 falls on Tuesday, February 5, initiating the Year of the Pig. Although Chinese New Year is celebrated worldwide, most people take this chance to travel back to their hometown and celebrate it with their families, relatives and close friends.
Chinese New Year or also called “The Spring Festival” and “Lunar New Year” is associated with several customs and myths. The festival was traditionally considered as the time to give honour to their ancestors as well as the deities. Chinese New Year 2019 is not just a time to feast and reunite with family, it is also coincide with a wide array of traditional customs and rituals. These are some of the most significant Chinese New Year traditions and things you could do to prepare for Chinese New Year 2019.
Customarily, a thorough house cleaning will be done before the day they celebrate Chinese New Year as the chinese people believed that if the house is swept clean on the Chinese New Year day, all the luck and good fortune that stored in the house for the upcoming days will also be swept. However, if you do house cleaning a few days before the Chinese New Year, all the bad luck and ill-fortune of the past year will be swept away as it is also to make way for all the good fortune to come in. Aside from that, house cleaning is basically the first thing that mostly everyone do before celebrating any kind of festivals whether people are celebrating Hari Raya, Deepavali or Chinese New Year. It is also considered as a thoughtful gesture where it indicates that you are well prepared to invite your guests to come over your house during the festival and also to make them feel welcomed and comfortable being in your house.
Praying at the temple
When it is time for new year, everyone wants to start it with a good note where you set aside all the negative thoughts and set new goals and came up with new year’s resolutions where usually people only want the good things to happen to them. People typically came to the temple to light the incense and pray to the deities for blessings and good luck in the year ahead as well as to ask for many great things to happen in the future for themselves and also for their loved ones. By going to the temple, they also gets to reflect and re-evaluate how they have been living their live those past years and it is believe to be good to rejuvenate one’s soul and mind. In some of the major temples, they would also put on festive lion and dragon dances in the temple’s courtyard. Hence, it is worth for you to go pray at your local temple and witness the amazing dragon and lion dance while you are at it.
People would usually buy new clothes to wear for special occasion and thus, it is no exception for them too. One of the thing that you can prepare for this upcoming Chinese New Year 2019 is to shop for some nice red clothes and decorations. Chinese people will usually wear red and bright coloured clothes to go with the festive mood. The red coloured clothes and decorations are believed to scare away all the spirits of bad fortune and the colour red is symbolized as the colour of luck.
People usually begin to decorate their houses, the streets and storefronts around 10 days before the Chinese New Year. You can always tell that it is nearing to the Chinese New Year festival when you can see the streets and houses are adorned with all these red decorations and since 2019 is the year of the pig, pig decorations will appear along the streets, houses and also shops. You can decorate your house by hanging the Chinese red lanterns in front of the door as it is believed to drive off all the bad luck from entering your house or shop. You can also decorate your house and shop by sticking the door couplets on your door main entrance and many other decorations which can attract lucks and happiness.
Ang Pow or Red Envelopes
Another thing that you should prepare for Chinese New Year 2019 is the red envelopes which are filled with money. Ang Pow or red envelopes are cash gifts which are typically given by adults to children, also from married couple to their younger and unmarried family members. If you are considered as the adult and senior among your family members, it is only appropriate if you prepare the ang pow for the young members in your family beforehand. It is also a warm gesture where it shows that you are thoughtful and care about your relatives and family members. This kind of warm gesture also help to strengthen the relationship between family members and to get to know each other better.
Going back to hometown
As per usual, during festive season especially Chinese New Year, you could expect that there will be heavy traffics as people are rushing to go back to their own hometowns. It is advisable for you to take off a few days early before Chinese New Year to avoid being stuck in the traffic. Going back to hometown is also one of the most anticipated thing as it is most probably the only chance for you to meet all your relatives and family members as all of them are gathered to celebrate Chinese New Year together.
Preparing foods before the celebration
It is considered as a taboo to cut anything during the celebration day. Hence, it is best for you to prepare the ingredients that you will be needing for your dishes before the celebration day. It is also said that using knife during the celebration day is also impermissible. Thus, you need to cut all the vegetables and any other ingredients you need the day before Chinese New Year. Preparing food beforehand could save you from violated all the taboos that is believed will bring bad luck to you and your family.
Lighting fireworks and firecrackers
Usually around midnight, the day before Chinese New Year, people will light up the fireworks and firecrackers to welcome the new year. The loud sound from the fireworks and firecrackers are assumed to scare away the evil spirit although nowadays firecrackers are banned in many cities for safety reason. It could be quite impractical to light up firecrackers as it could put yourself at risk. Therefore, this preparation is only applicable to professionals who know how to handle fireworks where it has been authorized by the responsible party.
Go to the festive market
Street markets or open-air markets is the best place for you to do some last minute shopping for this approaching Chinese New Year 2019 if you still have not. You can get a lot of things that you will be needing for the festival such as clothes, red envelopes, decorations, toys and trinkets. The street market is also teeming with flowers and potted plants such as peonies and orchids which chinese people considered these two plants are particularly auspicious.
Gifts for family members
You can also prepare some small gifts for your family members this Chinese New Year. By preparing gifts for your family members, it shows that you valued and care about them. This also helps strengthen the bond you have with your family and make the new year celebration more meaningful and precious to them. Gifts can also uplift the mood especially when you give it to the children. They will surely gets excited and happy to receive a gift on Chinese New Year.
We hope that you will find these tips to prepare for Chinese New Year 2019 useful. In this festive season where there will be a lot of travelling involved, it is important to make sure that you and your family safety is secured. If you’re travelling locally, well… one of the thing that you could prepare to insure your travel to be smooth sailing is by taking up travel insurance by MSIG. Now you can get MSIG Travel, Travel Insurance just by the tip of your finger where you can get it online and with just a few clicks, you are insured. Not to mention that if you get the travel insurance by MSIG with us at PolicyStreet, you will be able to get 25% off including RM 10 rebate. Visit www.PolicyStreet.com for more info!