For telling us about her celebration of  Chinese New Year.  Many thanks, Penny, for sharing your festivities with Global Awareness!

Chinese New Year Essay by Penny Yong, Malaysia. 

 Chinese New Year (CNY) is one of the big celebrations in Malaysia aside from Ramadan and Deepavali. Each year we kick-start CNY with a reunion dinner on CNY eve – all family members gathered together for this big meal. Reunion dinner is a custom, a formalities as well as an assurance to each other that brings all family members back together again despite our work and studies away from home after a long year. Reunion dinner is always well prepared and sumptuous, serving from 7 or 8 different dishes to more on a table. Being in my second year with the program, I have missed 2 CNY gathering back home including the very recent one. Despite my being away, my family has kept me updated with the whole celebration especially on the reunion dinner. In her attempt to make me drool, my sister sent these photos captioned with “Penny, look at what you are missing out on :P”


On the first morning of CNY, we pay respect to our elderly by serving tea and wishing well wishes to them before receiving red envelopes also known as Ang Pao/Hong Bao, normally containing money as blessing of wealth. This CNY I did something very different by Skype-greeting my families in the igloo that I build over the weekend with the snow we had in New Jersey.


CNY are normally spent with home visitations. This practice is called bai nian. The word bai means paying respec’t and nian means year.  This is a tradition for us to visit the homes of our elders, friends and relatives to bring them good wishes for the year ahead. CNY is also a good time for gathering and bonding.


According to the Chinese Zodiac, I was born in the year of Snake. Year 2013, also the year of Snake, was said to be a lousy year for me because there are too many taboos for Snake people to be in the year of Snake. One reason was because my zodiac sign conflicts against the year. There are 5 elements that made up the Chinese Astrology. They are Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. Year 2014 is the year of the Horse and in the Chinese 5 elements theory; Snake and Horse are in the Fire group which means we can get along well. Therefore, year 2014 is a good year for me especially in career, wealth and relationship.


These are the videos I would like to share with you on what CNY in Malaysia is all about – its traditions, culture and a small part of what Malaysia is:–M


Penny Yong,