It’s almost that time of year again when many Chinese communities begin their Chinese New Year celebrations by painting the town red – literally! Also known as the Lunar New Year, decorations such as red lanterns, paper cutouts and Chinese couplets are put up in many shopping malls, streets as well as households to usher in another year of prosperity and luck.
The Chinese Zodiac
Based on the lunar calendar, each year is represented by one of the 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac, including the Pig, Rat, Monkey and Tiger. According to legend, the Jade Emperor ordered for animals to become a part of the calendar and a race was held to select the 12 animals. The next year will be the year of the rat and people who were born in this year are said to be wise and crafty.
If you’d like to find out which animal you are in the Chinese zodiac and what your animal represents, click here to find out!
Chinese New Year Traditions
Many begin their celebrations by cleaning their houses to ‘sweep away’ any bad luck and make way for good luck. Doors and walls are decorated with red decorations that feature Chinese words that mean ‘happiness’, ‘wealth’ ‘and longevity’ to help usher in good fortune into their homes. Many carry out prayers in temples, while others have shrines within their households and provide offerings to the deities such as food and drinks in the morning of the Spring Festival.
Apart from that, ang pows (red envelopes) are gifted to unmarried relatives as well as to charities to give back to the community. ‘Open houses’ are also a custom, with relatives, friends and colleagues coming together to dine and drink at each other’s house.
Chinese New Year In Kuala Lumpur
Due to the significant percentage of the Chinese communities in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, it is considered one of the most popular festivals in Malaysia with both cities hosting several activities and events over a span of several weeks. If you will be in Kuala Lumpur during this time of the year, there will be plenty of things to see and do to join in with the festivities. That being said, here are a few recommendations for you to celebrate the Year of the Rat for Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur!
1. Visit Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, Petaling Street
Considered a popular tourist destination, Chinatown is a colourful and bustling attraction that is only a short walk from Pasar Seni LRT station. Home to many Chinese temples, you will find many people praying for luck and wealth on the days leading up to the New Year as well as lion dances and fireworks. You will also find a variety of boutiques and souvenir stalls selling handicrafts that you can bring back home for your loved ones or as a personal token to mark your time in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, art lovers and aspiring artists can explore Chinatown’s art scene, with galleries hosting exhibitions featuring local and regional modern pieces. There are also numerous food stalls with local Chinese delicacies at a decent price for you to grab a quick bite should you start to feel hungry.
2. Watch Chinese New Year performances
During the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur, lion dances and firecrackers are a common sight to see throughout the city. Legend has it that on the first day of the New Year, Chinese villagers were terrorised by a mythical creature called Nian and was successfully driven away by loud sounds as well as the colour red. You can join in the festivities with your little ones at InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, where we will have an exciting lion dance performance on 6 February 2020 at 11.30am in our lobby!
3. Feast with your loved ones
As Chinese New Year celebrations typically involve the gathering of families and feasting on a spread of traditional dishes, one traditional dish during this time is yee sang, which is tossed for prosperity and luck. Luckily for you, you can enjoy complimentary yee sang for every table booked at Serena Brasserie’s Chinese New Year buffet. We are also offering 25% off with our Early Bird special when you book your seats and make your payment before 10 January 2020.
For those celebrating with their group of loved ones, Tao Chinese Cuisine’s Chinese New Year specials are perfect for large gatherings to enjoy a gourmet selection of dim sum, yee sang and set menus that will satisfy every palate. So, book your tables and make your payment before 29 December 2019 to enjoy our Early Bird special of 25% off!
During this time of the year, many tourists and locals will be flocking to Kuala Lumpur to participate in the festivities. As celebrations will be typically held in the city centre, we recommend staying within the golden triangle for a convenient stay. If you’re looking for a place to stay during your time in Kuala Lumpur, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur is strategically located in the heart of the city with easy access to public transport and major shopping malls. You can book our luxurious rooms here.
On behalf of everyone here may we wish you a prosperous Chinese New Year ahead!