Chinese New YearA time for family reunions, the lion dance, firecrackers, mahjong, mandarin oranges and giving/collecting ang pow, the Lunar New Year - or Chinese New Year (CNY), as it is more commonly known in Malaysia - highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of Chinese tradition and rituals.
Beliefs and traditionAs a contrast, what is believed to bring good fortune and ward off evil is the lion which, according to legend, was the only animal that managed to wound the Nian. This gave rise to the lion dance, as the villagers of the story tried to mimic the lion in their attempt to frighten the beast away.
Here in Malaysia, troupes of lion dancers travel in trucks during the 15-day period to perform at individual homes and businesses, even hotels and shopping complexes. It is one of the most spectacular sights during this period, where performers regularly shimmy up poles to pick up ang pows, while moving to the beat of the drums.
Today, the prevalence of the colour red, and firecrackers, form part of the CNY celebrations throughout the world, as a part of custom and tradition.