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Make the Most of Chinese New Year as an Expat in Malaysia

 

 

The Lunar New Year approaches rapidly, marking a huge event for anybody currently living in Malaysia or planning to be there at the time. Also known as Chinese New Year, this festival of renewal is of huge religious and cultural significance in the South-East Asian nation, where a quarter of the population claim Chinese ancestry. A multitude of lively and colourful traditions have been built up around the holiday over the centuries of its celebration, and it’s a great opportunity to witness the unique and diverse culture for which Malaysia is legendary.
Here is the Allied Pickford guide for how tourists and expats alike can enjoy the unique atmosphere of Chinese New Year in Malaysia:

Be willing to get involved

Because the Lunar New Year is a deeply religious occasion for some, and perhaps because of the significant emphasis on family in the traditions, many tourists feel anxious about intruding on this cultural event. While respect is absolutely the top priority, the Malaysian version of this festival has a very open and public atmosphere, and if you approach things with a genuine desire to participate you should have no trouble joining the celebrations.
Of particular note for those seeking to share the occasion are the “open house” parties held by many homeowners. While the first evening of the Lunar New Year is reserved for family, the later days of the festival see the party extended to all friends of the house – sometimes including strangers from off the street! If you are lucky enough to be invited in, enjoy the delicious festival food and hospitality.

It’s a long festival

This can surprise western visitors, for whom New Year’s Eve is an intense but one-night celebration, but the Lunar New Year is celebrated over 15 days in Malaysia, with multiple public holidays and a broader atmosphere of festivity around the event itself. Businesses will be closed or open shorter periods, with heavily Chinese districts almost shutting down around the eve of the new year. 
A range of fantastic traditional parades and performances, such as lion dances, can be seen for free in public, and special festival foods are on sale only for this period out of the whole year. You can combine celebration and feast with the heritage-recognised Malaysian festival dish “Yee Sang”. This delicious tossed salad of fish and vegetables is traditionally eaten by throwing the components in the air, a gesture meant to earn good luck for the coming year.
The concluding 15th day of the festival sees things go out with a bang, residents decorating their houses with a cacophony of brightly coloured light displays in an event called Chap Goh Mei. It makes for a great way to see off the celebrations, walking through the streets and enjoying the sights after 2 weeks of hectic activity.

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So when you’re ready to make the move to Malaysia, come to Allied Pickfords and we’ll get your belongings there safely, on time and at an affordable price. www.alliedpickfords.com.my

 

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