Celebrate the 15 Days of Chinese New Year with These Activities - Jiran

Celebrate the 15 Days of Chinese New Year with These Activities

Get into the festive spirit with this comprehensive list of things to do!

Published on 31 January 2022

After almost two years in lockdown, Malaysians are finally able to celebrate this festive season in full swing. Though celebrations are still going to be mild and intimate, the Chinese New Year (CNY) spirit must go on. If you’re looking for ways to occupy the rest of your CNY, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list of 15 activities you could indulge in during this festive season.

1. Team or reunion dinner

CNY must kick off with a meaningful meal with either friends, colleagues or family that you are close to. The meal you share together reaffirms the love and respect that binds everyone as a unit. Perhaps the most ideal meal for this occasion is steamboat. It is a communal dish, and the pot, which is normally round, traditionally symbolises reunion or unity.

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2. Visit Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur

Looking for the perfect place to take your OOTDs? You cannot miss visiting Thean Hou Temple. Its grandiose structure is filled with ornate carvings and intricate embellishments that are awe-inspiring. Pro tip: visit the temple at night for the scenic view.

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3. Lou Yee Sang with your family

Yee sang, one of the classic and prominent dishes consumed during CNY is commonly known as the “prosperity salad” since it is believed to bring in good fortune and health for those who partake in its tossing. Gather with friends and family to wish each other good health, wealth and success for the coming year while tossing the yee sang as high as possible. A word of precaution, the mess that comes after is inevitable.

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4. Visit Jonker Street, Melaka

Travel down south to Jonker Street as it is decked with CNY decorations that will instantly put you in a celebratory mood. An area steeped in history and cultural heritage, Jonker Street does not disappoint when it comes to celebrating the festivities. The streets are traditionally filled with local delicacies, seasonal souvenirs, and festive handiworks that you can purchase for yourself or as a gift to others.

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5. Partake in home visits

Visitations are a vital part of CNY. When else can you enjoy an intimate time in the comforts of home? However, be careful by adhering to SOPs and be courteous to your hosts by respecting their space and wishes as the COVID-19 virus is still rampant. Monitor yourself with a home test kit and be sure to inform your hosts before planning to visit them.

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6. Fold traditional origami paper crane

Origami might be a term coined in modern times, but this traditional art of folding paper finds its roots in Chinese culture where its focus is on inanimate objects. The Japanese version focuses on animals and flowers. You can decorate your home with these handmade ornaments or just simply have fun crafting origami lanterns and flowers.

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7. Visit Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur

Need we say more? Petaling Street, also known as Chinatown, is packed with eateries, cafés and wholesale decoration stores that will put you in the CNY spirit. You can even partake in an impromptu photoshoot at Concubine Lane or enjoy café hopping around the area.

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8. Compare the best CNY shopping mall decorations

Something a family of all ages can enjoy together is visiting shopping malls and taking pictures together in front of the decorations. According to the Lunar Calendar, the year 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. Do not be surprised to see malls decked out with traditional CNY décor and various forms of tiger decorations.

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9. Make glutinous rice balls (tang yuan)

This dessert comes with either a cold or hot drink with chewy and sweet spheres. No, this is not bubble tea; it is glutinous rice balls, more commonly known as tang yuan. Sit around with the family and make these delicious rice balls and stuff them with your favourite fillings. You can also eat them dusted with sugar and peanuts if you prefer eating them dry.

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10. Visit Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple, Selangor

Located in the quaint town of Jenjarom, Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple boasts displays of its highly popular annual CNY Lantern and Floral Festival. Fully illuminated with decorations of lanterns, flotillas, and digital vibrant lights, it is no wonder the temple was given the “Outstanding Scenery Award” from the Tourism Board of Selangor.

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11. Visit Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang

Itching for a road trip? Drive up north to check out Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The 130-year-old monastery is traditionally illuminated all the way up to the 33.6m-tall Kuan Yin statue and pavilion temple every festive season. This majestic beauty is not something you would see very often so take the chance to admire Penang’s pride.

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12. Write Spring Festival Couplets (chun lian)

Spring Couplets or more commonly known as chun lian is an ancient practice that aims to welcome blessings and dispel misfortune. Unlike decorations that are meant simply to add a festive mood, the act of writing chun lian and pasting them on your door frames expresses sincere blessings and good wishes. It is commonly written vertically on red paper with calligraphy and is composed of a pair of poetry lines that are related and antithetical.

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13. Feast on traditional snacks

Now is the best excuse to try an array of CNY snacks limited to this festive season. It is customary to gift snacks such as biscuits or mandarin oranges to the host that you are visiting and similarly, they will treat you to their selection of goodies accompanied with some tea to wash down the sweetness.

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14. Watch a lion dance

The adrenaline immediately kicks in when the clashing of the cymbals and the thumping of the drums begin. Lion dance is the epitome of what is commonly associated with CNY. According to Chinese mythology, the lion dance was meant to scare away the monster (nian) which terrorised villages. The loud music along with firecrackers and red-coloured lanterns scared away the nian and brought peace to the villagers. Today, the Chinese usher in the new year through the lion dance performance.

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15. Celebrate Chap Goh Mei

Also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, Chap Goh Mei marks the end of the Chinese New Year and is also the day for young singles to find love. Traditionally, the girls will write their names and contact details on mandarin oranges and toss them into the river, hoping that a guy would scoop them up and make contact. Today, there are events like this held in several residential areas and cities with lakes or manufactured pools to spread the cheer to people of all ages.

Although the excitement is bustling in the air and many plans are yet to be made, remember to travel responsibly, and stay safe. While visiting family and friends is long overdue, the priority for us is to take care of each other by making sure we do not jeopardise the safety and health of our loved ones.

Jiran wishes you Gong Xi Fa Cai! May you have a wonderful CNY celebration with your family and friends. Want to find more fresh ideas to occupy your time this festive season? Follow Jiran now on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest stories.