Traditions and taboos evolving with the times

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020

No money, no problem: Lim holding up cashless payment options at his prayer paraphernalia shop in Lebuh Carnavon.

GEORGE TOWN: Chinese New Year like any other festival is filled with traditions and taboos but modern times are slowly but surely changing some of the practices.

Engineer Raymond Tan recalled his parents buying him new clothes and bed sheets every Chinese New Year when he was young.

“Those were the days when shopping was considered a happening occasion.

“These days, there are more shopping malls and we shop more often when there are discounts, so buying new clothes or bed sheets are no longer a must for Chinese New Year.

“My family would make sure everyone was dressed well and the house was cleaned for the festive season,” he said.

However, Tan, 45, said they still observed certain traditions and practices such as not cutting his hair or fingernails and sweeping the floor on the first day of the lunar new year.

Accountant Sim Bee Leng, 32, would be having her reunion dinner at a restaurant on the eve of Chinese New Year for a change this year.

“Family members used to meet up only during Chinese New Year, but now with the convenience of travelling, we are meeting more frequently.

“Since some family members are going on vacation and are not available to attend the reunion dinner, we didn’t want to be burdened with cooking and cleaning house after the feast.

“That doesn’t mean we have distanced ourselves as we now update each other more often via social media,” she said.

Kenny Lim, 36, a fourth generation owner of a prayer paraphernalia shop in Lebuh Carnarvon, has introduced an e-payment system at his counter to keep up with the trend and woo the younger generation.

“Hanging of lanterns, auspicious signs and paper cut-outs during Chinese New Year is an age old Chinese tradition but some younger people don’t pursue them as seriously as their elders.

“To continue serving the new concept of shopping, I’m offering e-payment options and delivery services for the items,” he said.

Lim said while many of his customers were buying decorative items in bulk for their companies, business on the whole was not that good this year.

“Chinese New Year is early this year, right after Christmas and New Year so schedules are tight.

“Most of the decorative items are considered ‘accessories’ and not ‘necessities’, so during this tough economic times, not everyone will have extra money to spend,” he said.

Lim added that red would always be the auspicious colour for Chinese as it symbolises prosperity and abundance.

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Chinese New Year , traditions , taboos


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