Brunei witnesses Chinese New Year with lion dances, open house gatherings

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Jan 23 (Xinhua): People in Brunei, especially Chinese locals, welcomed the first day of the Year of the Rabbit on Sunday with various celebrations, including lion dances and open house gatherings.

In the morning, locals and foreigners were attracted by the dragon and lion dancing activities in front of the Tengyun Temple, the historic temple located in the city center of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei's capital.

"It is the first time that I have watched the dragon and lion dances so close here in Brunei," Melissa Johnson, an Australian who works in Brunei told Xinhua.

"I am very much impressed with the performance and the joy and happiness shared by the people during the Chinese New Year celebrations," she added.

Some government agencies and royal family members also joined celebrations with the local Chinese community.

Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, joined the celebrations on Sunday.

He and his family also participated in the Yusheng, or tossing up and sharing the same plate of food, during his visits to several Chinese families.

"It is the time of the year for family get-togethers, fresh starts and new hopes for a joyful year to come for our Chinese friends and families. Happy Lunar New Year 2023," Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department said on social media.

The local Chinese community also celebrated the Year of the Rabbit with traditional open house gatherings.

As a unique way of celebrating the new year, the open house tradition means opening homes to relatives, friends and even strangers to share the season's joy with guests.

Over the years, many local Chinese and organizations including the Chinese embassy and companies in Brunei have hosted their version of the open house for staff and members of the public.

In the tradition among the Chinese community, relatives and friends are invited to come over and help themselves to a sumptuous buffet. The houses are decorated with blessing words and spring couplets, while the children are given money in red packets by their elders.

"Many years ago, we only offered cookies and candies during our open house celebrations," Lilian Wong, a local housewife told Xinhua.

"Nowadays, you can see we embrace the Chinese New Year with plenty of food and drinks to share the happiness and expect more fortune in the coming year," she said. Enditem

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