Updated on 1st January 2014 WED  7:02PM

 

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SPRING   FESTIVAL
2006 Tawau
CHINESE     NEW    YEAR   2006
The Year of Dogs
...a  time  for  community   reunion...
 


1) Celebration in Tawau Basketball Stadium on 5th February 2006 4:00 to 6:00PM

2) Celebration in Sin On Community Hall by Malaysian Chinese Association on 5th February 2006 10:00 to 1:00PM

3) Open House in Datu Law Yun Fah's resident on 30th January 2006 10:00 to 12:00 noon (2nd Day of Chinese New Year)




 

Chinese New Year is one event Tawau town celebrate with riotous joy. The sounds, the smells and the colors. The expectant days of fun seemed to come into vivid contrast in every child's  mind.





Traditions of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year symbolizes renewal; a turning point in fortunes and lives on the whole.
As red is the predominant colour symbolizing luck for the Chinese, strips of red paper with ‘lucky’ characters inscribed on them are hung on walls or doors in most homes. Ang pows or 'lucky money’ are given in special red packets to the younger members of the community by their elders.

The Chinese moon calendar is divided into cycles of twelve years and is named after various animals. In order of sequence, the twelve animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Chinese New Year is ushered by the sign of these animals yearly. According to popular belief, individuals are born under the influence of the animal that controls the year of their birth.

To the Chinese community, the most important festival celebrated is the Spring Festival, more commonly known as Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new lunar year and falls on the first day of the ‘first moon’ in the lunar calendar. It is also the most important event of the entire Chinese calendar.

People  lived and celebrated their festivals. The festivals were important to them as markers of time when life was tough and there wasn't much to look forward to. When you lived, ,toiled, and die. In between you celebrate a little.

Every year,  there was Ching Ming (Ancestors' Grave Cleaning) in April, Chung Chet in May (Chu Yuan- Dumplings Festival), Kui Chet (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) around August, Chung Chiu Chet, the Mid-Autumn OR Moon-cake Festival in September. Then it is Koh Tung, the Winter Solstice in December.

When the Winter Solstice was celebrated, with a steamed chicken on the altar (chinese lettuce between its beak) and the sweetish fragrance of rice wine poured over burnt paper offerings, and 'thong yen' or glutinous rice balls eaten at night in sweetened ginger soup with pandan fragrance.

Before all that, to mark the coming of the New Year, the north-easterly wind must first arrive at our doorsteps, blowing from across the South China Sea. You will hear the wind when it comes, calling out sometimes like the cry of a home-sick child on the Casuarina trees.

The climax of the Chinese New Year lasts only two or three days including the New Year's Eve. But the whole New Year season extends from the mid-twelfth month of  previous year to the middle of the first month of the new year. The month approaching the Chinese New Year is a good time for business, because people will generousely buy presents, decoration material, food and clothing. Transportation companies  is eagerly waiting for the swarms of travellers who rush back home for a family renunion from all parts of Malaysia.

Days before the New Year, each household  is busy giving its house a thorough cleaning, hoping to sweep away all the ill-fortune there may have been in the family to make way for the wishful in-coming good luck. People also give their doors and window-panes a new paint, usually in red color. They decorate the doors and windows with the popular theme of "happiness", "wealth", "logevity" and "satisfactory marriage with more children". Paintings of the same theme are put up in the house on top of the newly mounted wall paper. In the old days, various kinds of food are tributed at the alta of ancestors.

New Year eve  is carefully observed. Supper is a family feast with all members getting together. One of the most popular course is jiaozi, dumplings boiled in water. "Jiaozi" in Chinese literally mean "sleep together and have sons", a long-lost good wish for a family. After dinner, it is time for the whole family to sit up for the night while having fun playing cards or board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the ocassion. Every light is supposed to be kept on the whole night. At midnight, the whole sky will be lit up by fireworks and firecrackers make everywhere seem like a war zone. People's excitement reach its zenith.

Early next morning, children greet their parents and receive their presents in terms of cash wrapped up in red paper packages. Then, the family start out to say greetings from door to door, first their relatives and then their neighbors. It is a great time for reconciliation. The air is permeated with warmth and friendliness. During and several days following the New Year's day, friends visit each other and exchange of gifs. The New Year atmosphere is brought to an anti-climax fifteen days away where the Festival of Lanterns sets in. It is an occasion of lantern shows and folk dances everywhere. One typical food is the Tang Yuan, another kind of dumplings made of sweet rice rolled into balls and stuffed with either sweet or spicy fillings.

The Lantern Festival marks the end of the New Year season and afterwards life becomes daily routines once again. This description is based upon the recollection of my own experience. Customs of observing the New Year vary from place to place yet the spirit underlying the diverse celebrations of the Chinese New Year is the same: a sincere wish of peace and happiness for the family members and friends.


 

 February 11, 2018 03:17:22 PM

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