2014 Chinese New Year Celebration of a Typical Malaysian Chinese: Kuching

This is a delayed post re Chinese New Year 2014 event which fell on 31st January 2014

It’s that time of the year again when most of the Chinese community are back to their hometown to celebrate this great event with their families. I’m no exceptional too.

Me and my wife went back to Kuching on the 29th of January 2014 via a night flight and only reached Kuching around 12am. The feeling was wonderful and with great anticipation to meet my own family since I have not met my parents and sisters for quite some times. Upon reaching the doorstep, everyone were still awake and welcoming both me and my wife.

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2014: Year Of Horse

The next day was what we Chinese called “年除夕“. This day marked the last day of the old lunar calender and all family members would be very busy on this day as all are preparing to welcome the new lunar year, the year of Horse! Myself was responsible to do some sundries for the reunion dinner at night, washing the cars, cleaning up the house and ensure all important raw material for the night reunion dinner were bought and available for preparation. Unfortunately for my wife, she was down with flu, probably due to heavy workload that she has to cope prior to this and had to spent time resting.

Night time came and we were still busying on the preparation of the food. We had prepared altogether 13 types of dishes for the night’s reunion dinner, or in mandarin, 团圆饭. The dishes were only readied around 8.30pm. Some of the dishes including, my favourite, lamb meat, abalone, sea asparagus, fried boiled eggs and tiger prawns. Although quite late compared to our normal dinner time of around 6.30pm, the most important thing for this reunion dinner was that all family members had the opportunity to sit down together to have this dinner and share our stories and experience together. I guess this is what make this dinner so special for all of us.

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Our dishes

Next event would be firecracker/fireworks time at midnight, which is also the climax (for us Foo Chow clan) of all Chinese New Year celebration. In Malaysia, firecracker and fireworks are totally banned for safety reason unless a special permit is obtained from the local council. Somehow, in Sarawak this is a totally different story given there’s lack of enforcement of such ban so everyone went forward to light up their firecrackers and fireworks like no one else business. The original reason for the Chinese to light up firecrackers and fireworks during the eve of Chinese New Year, as I understand, was to scaring off Bad Spirits, welcoming the God of Wealth and welcoming the new lunar year.

God Of Wealth
God Of Wealth

My sisters bought some firecrackers and fireworks too but two of the fireworks that they bought had some quality problem which resulted in lousy display. However, I did enjoy firecrackers and fireworks display around the neighborhood which I can never experience in Kota Kinabalu.

Next day would be the first day of Lunar New Year, the year of Horse. Typically, for my family, early in the morning we would dressed up our best and receive red packet or “红包” from the elders and in this case, my parents while for me, I had to give to my three younger sisters. A Red Packet is a small red envelope which contains some money to be given to younger generation as a symbol of good luck. After that session, we will be visiting our close relatives and the day after, our friends and colleagues houses.

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I feel blessed to be able to celebrate this year Chinese New Year with my family. Although unfortunately both me and my wife eventually fall sick and can’t really enjoy the atmosphere of this celebration but the fact that all the family members were able to come together to celebrate this meaningful event is a blessing itself.

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