Chinese New Year 2020 in Malaysia

(source: wantedinrome.com)

Discover the Chinese New Year dates in Malaysia and start planning for your vacation.

2020
January
DateDayHolidayState(s)
25SaturdayChinese New YearNational
26SundayChinese New Year HolidayNational
27MondayChinese New Year HolidayNational (excl. Johor & Kedah)

Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) is a public holiday in Malaysia and mainly celebrated by the Chinese community. The date changes every year on a normal calendar as the dates identfied is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. On top of that, each new year is associated to an animal according to the order in the Chinese Zodiac:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Sheep
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 consecutive days (but only 2 official public holidays are given in Malaysia) with the main celebration taking place in the first three days. On the 15th day, it is the time when the Lantern Festival is celebrated to indicate the ending of the Chinese New Year celebration. And rather than ending on a soft note, it ends with a night where houses in Malaysia can be seen decorated with lights from the lanterns.

The preparation for this long celebration usually takes place a month before the first day. Snacks are prepared to be served to guests (be it friends or families) when they come for a house visit. Houses are also cleaned up and brooms are kept during the Chinese New Year (for fear of “sweeping” away the fortune and good luck that is arriving for you). On top of that, new clothes are also purchased and worn during the new year to signify a “properous year for your life”.

Family reunions also take place during the Chinese New Year celebration with a get-together dinner taking place on the eve of the new year (a large amount of food is bought and prepared just for this occasion). This day is one of the most important days for the Chinese community as this day is reserved for the family. On the subsequent days, everyone else is invited (similar to other festive celebrations in Malaysia) for a joyous week of celebration. Red packets or known as “ang-pao” (containing money) are usually given during these 2 long weeks by those who are married to the children and individuals who are single as a form of blessing.

Chinese New Year Food

1. Yee Sang

yee sang
(source: purelyb.com)

A traditional dish taken during Chinese New Year, Yee Sang originated from Malaysia instead of the common perception that it originated from China. It is generally made from some strips of raw fish (most of the time Salmon is the preferred option), shredded vegetables (such as carrots and cucumbers) and a wide variety of sauces and condiments. As there is no one-size fits all, different people customise their “Yee Sang” according to their personal preference. The most important part however is not the ingredient, but rather the “Yee Sang toss” (or prosperity toss) whereby the higher you toss the better your life and social standard will improve.

2. Leek

leek
(source: specialtyproduce.com)

Leeks according to Chinese pronunciation translates to “count” or “plan” while vegetables according to Chinese pronunciation translates to “wealth”. This makes leeks one of the “must-have” vegetables during the new year especially so for someone who is running their own business. Pickled leeks are also regularly used in Malaysia as one of the main ingredients in Yee Sang.

3. Sticky Cake

sticky cake
(source: whattocooktoday.com)

Sticky cake is also known as “nian gao” (which translates to “year cake”). As with the many Chinese traditions and beliefs, “gao” which sounds similar to the word “tall” or “high” in Chinese, eating this cake symbolises that your life will achieve greater heights in the coming year. The ingredients for this cake can be as simple as glutinous rice flour, brown sugar and oil. Depending on what additional flavour that you like, it is common to find a “red bean-flavoured sticky cake” or even “durian-flavoured sticky cake” in Malaysia.

4. Oranges and Tangerines

oranges
(source: wikipedia.org)

Two of the must-have fruits during the new year (whether in the house or gifts when visiting families and friends) are oranges and tangerines. Similar to leeks and sticky cake, orange sounds like “gold” in Chinese while tangerine sounds like “good luck”. These 2 fruits are the ultimate symbols for wealth and happiness during the new year.

Now that you know the Chinese New Year dates, traditions, beliefs and food in Malaysia, it is time to start making plans for a wonderful holiday.

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