Keeping CNY traditions alive

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 25 Jan 2017

In festive mood: Lee and her mother Chung posing with some of the decorations in their house. — SAM THAM/ TheStar

PETALING JAYA: Regardless of age, many will faithfully maintain the traditions of the Lunar New Year.

Dr Kaithlyn Goh (pic), 25, who will be flying back from Scotland to celebrate with her family in Malacca after five years, said she would be keeping it old school.

The doctor said she would still follow most of the traditions such as eating food with symbolic meaning, wearing new clothes, spending time with the family, and not cleaning on the first day.

“My parents won’t be happy if I go out with friends on the first day of Chinese New Year.

“And certainly not on the eve when we have the reunion dinner because nothing is more important than family.”

Goh finally flying back to Malaysia for Chinese New Year after 5 years.

Dr Goh added that her family practises a unique tradition of keeping empty red packets since her grandmother’s era in the 1970s.

“It is interesting to see how things change with time and each ang pow tells a story,” she said.

Retiree Lily Lian, 54, believes that festive seasons should be well celebrated.

“I will place food items such as gat chai (lime) and fatt choy (black moss) on the dining table just for the symbolic value.”

Gat chai represents luck and longevity while fatt choy implies wealth and prosperity.

“I also place fruits such as pineapples to welcome fortune (wong lai) and apples for protection from harm (peng kor),” Lian said.

Management trainee Su Lee, 24, said her family used to follow many traditions, but as time went by, they dropped those that did not go with their lifestyle.

She no longer believed in not washing her hair and donning red on the first day of Chinese New Year.

“But I do make an effort to wear bright-coloured clothes as my mum says it gives a joyful, uplifting feeling,” she said.

Lee’s mother, May Chung, 56, said: “We don’t really practise many rituals, but we do use red plates to place offerings on the altar.”

This year, Chung advised Lee not to eat chicken on the first two days of Chinese New Year.

“My daughter was born in the Rooster year so it is a symbolic move to respect her Chinese zodiac animal,” she said.

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Family & Community , cny , traditions


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