Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Lunar New Year

"What do you do during new year?" A Japanese colleague asked when I told him that I'm taking a week off back to my hometown.

While I dug deep into my memories, finding words to explain a foreign culture in a short few sentences, I found that I'm short of words. Not that I've forget how we celebrating new year, but new year means a lot different to me ever since I left home 9 years ago.

When I was a child. New year means school holidays, lots of snacks, soft drinks, fireworks, late night movies. Those were childhood/teenage memories.

Now, new year for me is all about reunion. That's always reunion element in it, but when everyone stay under the same roof, the meaning of it never seem significant. The perspective changed when you are aboard. The time to go back to the family, relatives and friends is what I'm looking forward to.

Then, there are other part of new year, the cultural part that we tried to perserve. The Lunar New Year span across 15 days, with various rituals, dos and don'ts. I can't image anyone still follow all of them, even in my family, we chose to simplify thing, picking up parts that make sense to us.

祭祖

Ancestral veneration or ancestor worship is one of the main rituals during new year's eve. Sacrifices are made to altars as food, in the form of sumptuous feasts for the deceased. Burning offering is performed as well.

祭祖 II

The table of offering will be our reunion feast as well. We help along with the preparation, but my mum is the main chef behind all the dishes you saw in the photos. Talking about foods, there are a lot to write about. So, let's save them for another post in the future.

Before counting down to the new year, we will perform another ritual, which is more difficult to explain in plain word and make sense of, but let's make it simple as a ritual to pray for a prosperous year ahead. The offering in this round of prayer is limited to fruits and vege, which we will dress them up using red papers, the auspicious color for Chinese.

接财神

生菜(芹,蒜,葱)

Explosion noise of firecrackers marks the arrival of the new year. A rituals once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. Although firecrackers is banned in Malaysia, people still can get them purchased easily in the market, and new year is a great excuse to break the laws. :p

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That's basically what we do in the new year eve. Different families have different rituals. Some stayed up all nights, some went to the temple. You can called some of the rituals superstitious, but I think most of us carry out those ritual with one intention, hoping for a great year ahead. So, whoever come across this blog entry, I wish the best for you as well! Happy New Year!


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