With the majority of countries under strict movement restrictions, the Chinese New Year in 2021 will be welcomed and celebrated a little differently. China, which was the epicentre of the virus, has its own story to tell this year. The same goes for Malaysia as we celebrate the festivity for the first time under the enforced lockdown. So without further ado, let’s go through the difference in the Chinese new year celebration then and now.
Customary Chinese New Year
Just like the international new year celebration, the Chinese new year is celebrated every year with great anticipation. This sixteen-days long festival starts from the first day of the new year called Yuan Dan and lasts till the lantern festival. The preparation for the grand celebrations usually begins 7 days before the Chinese new year’s eve. Shopping sprees and cleaning signal the beginning of the new year celebrations.
Feasts and Angpaos
In China, the Chinese new year is celebrated every February, followed by a 16-day holiday that lasts till the lantern festival. Houses are decorated in shades of red and gold with Chinese lanterns glowing in the courtyards. The ancestors are worshipped during new Year’s eve to ask for blessings and show gratitude. The prayers are followed by a new year feast, a time-honoured tradition in all Chinese households. The elders in the family are allowed to start first, followed by the other members. Families even celebrate with the prosperity toss or Yee Sang, a famous Chinese new year’s dish. A lot of families watch the CCTV Gala which begins at 8 in the evening.
After dinner, the children in the family get “Angpaos” from their elders, a red envelope containing money given as a token of good wishes. The Chinese also have a tradition called Shousui which translates to “Keep the watch over the year”. But nowadays the Chinese enjoy fireworks after dinner. The next day is celebrated by dressing up in new clothes and extending well wishes to other people. A lot of people also attend the celebrations held at the parks or temple fairs.
After a huge celebration, people return to work on the 8th of February, a lucky number for the Chinese. The new year is followed by the lantern festival which gives people another chance of celebration. It is also known as the Yuan Xiao festival, celebrated in honour of deceased ancestors. The night sky looks spectacular on this day as people light floating lanterns and send them off. This symbolizes the last day of the traditional Chinese new year celebrations.
Chinese New Year during Covid-19
This year’s celebration will not involve any street fairs or dragon dance. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the government of both China and Malaysia are trying their best to avoid severe outbreaks by preventing public gatherings. In China, companies and the local government are paying residents incentives not to visit other cities to deter massive movements. The citizen also cannot enjoy their usual 16-day celebration as the Chinese new year holiday this year has been dated only from 12 to 26 February. In a less rewarding yet similarly restraining manner, the movement restrictions have been strictly placed in Malaysia to control the spread of covid-19.
A Virtual Chinese New Year in 2021
To adapt to this new covid era Chinese new year celebrations, try virtual celebrations! Clean your house and decorate it in red and gold. Get on a call with your family members and toss that Yee Sang Virtually. You can still order new clothes online to dress up and spend the day feeling good at home. Angpaos can be sent and received virtually too thanks to digital banking solutions! Reminisce on the old celebrations and use this chance to even try your luck at the dragon dance at home. Utilize this opportunity to get closer to your family and celebrate in a unique manner.
We at SPEEDHOME wish you and your family a safe Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai!