The Chinese New Year celebration is all about the ‘ong’ or prosperity, health, happiness and abundance.
Younger generations tend to scoff at tradition and customs - especially those we consider as superstitious - but more often than not, there’s a reason behind these traditions.
Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense in this day and age, but others still apply. Besides, what’s wrong with making your elders happy once a year by following their beliefs, right?
Let’s look at some of the traditions that could bring you good luck in the year to come.
#1 Clean your house before the New Year but not on the day itself
Clear out all the clutter, dust and dirt from your home and office spaces in the days leading up to Chinese New Year.
Not only will this help start your year fresh, but cleaning has been proven to have positive effects on your mental health. It helps you feel more in control and the process itself is calming.
Plus, you can also figure out what needs replacing and go on a shopping spree!
Although cleaning is encouraged before the new year, don’t do it on the first day of the year, so as not to clean out your luck for the year!
#2 Add 'Yee Sang' to your new year meal
‘Yee Sang’ is wildly popular in Malaysia and Singapore during the festive season; for good reasons too!
The dish, which is essentially a salad, symbolises good luck, prosperity, happiness and auspiciousness in general.
To add ‘yu’ (a.k.a prosperity) to the basic vegetable base of 'Yee Sang', you just need to add some fish meat (usually raw salmon), because fish, when pronounced in Chinese, sounds the same as prosperity: ‘yu’.
#3 Add pomelo to your food or serve them on their own
When making the 'Yee Sang', you can also add pomelo - another food item that is considered to be auspicious - to the mix.
It also tastes good on its own or added to desserts.
The fruit is called ‘you zi’ in Mandarin, which has similar sound and tone as the Mandarin words for ‘again’ and ‘have’. Combined, the words form the phrase “to have again”, which is believed to symbolise wealth.
Pomelo also signifies good health, family unity and fertility, so use it as much as you wish to!
#4 Decorate your home with red things
Fruits, flowers, bright coloured decorations (especially red ones) - they all bring cheer and good luck.
For example, Mandarin oranges are called ‘kam’, which is similar to the word for 'gold'. Having them in abundance in your home is said to bring prosperity for the rest of the year.
Any kind of fresh flowers - plum blossoms especially - are also considered good to have at home as it symbolises spring and new beginnings.
Unfortunately, plum blossoms are not native to Malaysia, but you can still display the plastic ones.
Pretty ‘ang pao’ packets and red paper cutouts of auspicious words, flowers and the year’s zodiac sign are also some of the favourite decoration items that can bring you good luck.
#5 Share meals with family
Lastly, the most important part of any celebration is to spend it with family. Serving good food during the gathering goes without saying!
During this time, avoid anything negative and spend the time with lots of laughter, loud noises and general merriment.
When planning your meal, make sure you pay attention to what you’re serving: prawns ('ha') to invite happiness, fish ('yu' or 'yi') and dumplings ('jiao zi') for excess and wealth and Glutinous Rice Cake ('nian gao') so you can go ‘higher’ in life, are some of the more popular foods that are served during the Lunar New Year.
The food may differ depending on the dialect spoken in your homes, but we are Malaysians so 'rojak' only lah, ya?
There’s one more, less traditional, way of ushering in the Lunar New Year - and that's with Tesco Malaysia!
This year, the supermarket is expanding their yearly CNY campaign from ‘Ong Mali’ to ‘Semua Ong Mali’, an open invitation to everyone to come to Tesco where they’ll find everything they need for the celebration.
The whole campaign celebrates tradition and beliefs that are the pillars of the yearly celebration.
This year, you can look forward to not one, not two, but 21 festive commercials from Tesco Malaysia that will entertain you and give you tips for an auspicious celebration.
The 30-second commercials will begin airing on television and social media from 2 January onward, with a new episode every day.
What is a celebration without freebies, right? Well, Tesco Malaysia’s got that for you too!
With every purchase of a minimum of RM88, you will receive free ‘ang pow’ packets and a chance to participate in the ‘Semua Menang, Semua ONG Spin Wheel’ contest to win fabulous prizes totaling RM888,000.
The retail giant intends to go all out to reward its loyal customers and ensure ‘Semua Menang, Semua ONG’ this festive season. So, make sure you try your luck !
A gift for the less fortunate
While we're gearing up for Chinese New Year, we can’t forget the less fortunate during these times.
You can be a part of Tesco’s ‘Gift of Prosperity’ drive, which aims to provide the underprivileged with groceries to add cheer to their festive celebrations.
All you need to do is head over to any Tesco stores and purchase 'Gift of Prosperity' cards for as little as RM25 to help those in need and Tesco, along with Kechara, will do the rest.
What are you waiting for? Head to Tesco for a ‘Semua Ong Mali’ Chinese New Year 2020!