Welcome the Year of the Rat

Do you know the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese all celebrate their New Year on the same date, February 7,2008.

Though their Lunar New Year celebrations may not be totally the same, they also prepare and decorate their homes. They also gather together for a family reunion dinner on the eve of the New Year. The older family members will also give ang pow to their children on the first day of New Year. Lion dance troupe is invited to perform by many Chinese in the villages and towns with the hope that the lions would bring all of them some luck and prosperity.

The Chinese love the red colour as it signifies life, dynamism and prosperity and many towns in Malaysia dressed with red lanterns of all sizes and designs at strategic areas in conjunction with the Lunar New Year

This is something we do every year as part of our gesture to usher the Chinese New Year. Chinese are “ balik Kampong” to return village or home town to celebrate their New Year with their parents. The younger children will pay their respects to their parents and elders and usher spring wishes Gong Xi Fa Cai on the Lunar New Year.

Friends will send each other greeting cards and best wishes through electronic mails and SMS.

These are some photos of lion dance which was invited to perform in my sister’s house and ang pow were given each of the lion dance troupe members.

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The history—Lion Dance.

The Chinese Lion Dance goes back some one thousand years. The first record of the performance of an early form of the Lion Dance dates to the early Ch’in and Han Dynasties (Third Century B.C.)

The lions express joy and happiness. From the fourth day to the fifteenth of the New Year, lion dance groups would tour from village to village in traditional China. This traditional culture is practised in so many countries as far as America, England, Brazil,and Mexico by migrant Chinese.

The performing group is usually made through the Choy Cheng, or “Eating of the Green (Vegetable).” In this country, it has come to symbolize money, the color of dollar bills. Usually. the lay see (li shir) is in the form of a hung bao (lucky red envelope with the payment enclosed) which is tied to some vegetable matter such as loose leaf lettuce. Since the lay see is attached to some vegetable, it’s called “choy cheng,” with choy literally meaning vegetable. The greens are placed in an area for the lion to “eat.” The lion will carefully approach the “green” and even test it to make sure that it is safe and not a firecracker or other dangerous item.

The music played by a minimum of three pieces: drum, gong and cymbal. Variations to the basic beats help keep the music lively. The loud music, along with the firecrackers and lion movements, are used to scare away “evil spirits” so that good luck will follow. Lion dances are performed to bring luck and to ward off evil spirits, as with the beginning of the Lunar New Year and grand opening of businesses, and now – minus the firecrackers

Here I would like to wish all my friends who are celebrating the Chinese New Year: Gong Xi Fa Cai ( Kong Hee Fatt Choy) May this year of the Golden Rat bring you all wealth, prosperity & good health.

新年快乐! 万事如意! 年年有余! 心想事成! 步步高升! 鼠钱鼠到‘笑’

Also a word of thank you to all my non chinese friends who send me the New Year greetings.

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One response to “Welcome the Year of the Rat

  1. Pingback: The Year of Ox, Gong Xi Fa Cai « Visuallens

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