Chinese New Year in Malaysia
10 Mar 2015 | From Wei Yi of Malaysia
Just like any other festival in Malaysia, Chinese New Year is basically the time of the year to get together with family and friends. While each country may celebrate the New Year in an almost similar way, the concept of open house is normally practiced in Malaysia where the homes are open for friends and family to visit, regardless of race and religion.
The most important element of Chinese New Year is the reunion dinner, which is held on the eve of the New Year. In Malaysia, a dish called yee sang is the first to be served. Yee sang, also known as the Prosperity Toss, is a teochew-style raw fish salad and everyone at the table will help to mix this salad with their chopsticks – with lots of noise and laughter. The tradition is that the higher you toss the salad, the more your fortunes will grow in the New Year.
Gift giving is an important component of Chinese New Year in Malaysia and the most common gifts amongst family, colleagues and business contacts are the boxes of oranges, or the live orange trees. Ang-poh – little red packets with new currency notes inside – are given to children, single adults and the elderly, and for children this is often the most exciting part of the celebration. A child with many uncles and aunties can potentially collect a lot of money from their ang-poh gifts.