Chinese New Year is celebrated on a big scale by the Chinese community in Malaysia. It is a day that denotes the beginning of the new year based on Chinese calendar. According to Chinese belief, each year is represented by an animal. There are 12 animals, namely the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal has its own significance.
On the eve of Chinese New Year, all family members will congregate to have reunion dinner together. The objective is to foster closer family ties and relationship. Family members who are married will give “ang pau” (red packets which contain money) to relatives and friends who are still single. “Ang Pau” brings good luck and happiness. Mandarin oranges and rice cake (kuih bakulor nian gao) are compulsory items for Chinese New Year.
During Chinese New Year, lion dances are performed in houses and shops to bring good fortune and happiness. The 15th day of Chinese New Year is known as “Chap Goh Meh” and it signifies the end of the Chinese New Year celebration.