The word traditional likely doesn’t play well in your mind, depending on what comes to mind. It can either be people whom are not able to embrace change (ie : technological changes) or people who do things the old way, the purer way (ie : Swordsmanship). However, worry not, the word “traditional” here carries a rather positive meaning.
As time passes, change generally takes place too. Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher once said “Change is the only constant in life”. I would say that his words resound even till this very day.
Anyways back to the topic, I remember quite vividly as to how Chinese New Year celebrations used to be back then for me. By back then I mean 5 years ago and above. We’d all gather at our grandparents place with our parents. We had to offer good wishes the moment the door was opened, be polite and perhaps dress up nicely (in red preferably). In the house, we would have to get the dishes ready for the ceremony of paying respects to our ancestors. This meant offering food at the alter, where the pictures of our ancestors would be hung, high up (either so that we the mischievous ones would not get our hands on it or it resembled being in the heavens). Followed by a few sentences of gratitude for their alleged “blessings” and “protection” and lowering our knees to bow. I generally skipped it being one who did not care much for such things and in the name of religion. Make no mistake though, if they made my life easier, they still have my respect which comes from my heart and not by me bowing to their images.
After that, it was ‘makan’ time, the kids would gather at the smaller table while the grown ups would be at the bigger dining table, discussing more important matters. I always was intrigued as to what they were really talking about and how come I could not be at the same table as them. There is a rule when it comes to dining, you wash the utensils you use. Being the lazy me, I disliked it.
Bursting with energy, we would have fun. The one I remember most has to be jumping up and down the spring Queen sized bed and stopping whenever an elder came, only to continue when the cat left. Pure fun, nothing more.
The last event of the day would be playing with firecrackers (these were safer than fireworks, statistically speaking due to less firepower). There was this one time where we mounted the firecracker at the end of a long aluminium or metal. One will light it while the other then moves away from the person who lighted it. My younger sister wanted a hand in it and I lit it but instead of moving it away from me she moved it closer to me. I had to jump and lie on the road like a frog leaping away from danger. Refer to the “art” below.
Some will always be busy and not make it, making it a dull meet up instead of a “celebration”. It doesn’t mean much when warmth isn’t felt within the big family now does it? Plus our Ang Paos keep getting smaller and smaller.
Fun facts : 1. The Ang Paos symbolise good luck and prosperity, whilst warding off evil.
- Explosives : To scare the monster called “Nian” away, which fears the color RED and load explosions.
This Year, go home, spend some quality time with your family and give bigger Ang Paos please, we Malaysians definitely need the Good luck and prosperity + 6 % GST (to cope with rising costs). Increase the explosives too, there is real evil in this country.
It’s the year of the Monkey so go ahead, monkey around too ><
Have a safe, fun and great celebration~