Gochugaru Girl wishes her family and friends a Happy Chinese New Year.
Kuala Lumpur is bursting with festive colours of red and gold…it is as if I am celebrating a second Christmas!
This city has gone a bit into overdrive, and the shops are filled with presents such as sweets, cakes, biscuits and of course oranges (as the Chinese word for it sounds like the word for gold).
One of the things I enjoyed doing most when growing up in KL was to help my mother wrap up red packets. Oh, the feel of crisp, new banknotes is just one of the thrills of life. Even now, when I get a wad of unused notes from the ATM, I stash it away and only use it as gifts for birthdays and special occasions.
Red packets, filled with varying amounts of money, are given by married couples to younger relatives who are single. Typically these will be young children but technically, if you are single you are still eligible to receive red packets.
You would also give red packets to your elders and to your parents once you have started working and started earning money.
One running joke in our family is when we say, “we have to give some red packets to the rubbish men”.
This actually means we hand thank you red packets to the workers who collect our garbage…they actually collect rubbish on Chinese New Year’s Day in order to benefit from the tradition of handing out cash to service staff who have helped over the year. It’s like a bonus for working hard.
Below is a photo of the boxes of red packet paper that KL Sister has kept over the years, a healthy stack of new banknotes, and a basket of ready-wrapped red packets. When we were children, after this activity, we would run downstairs to eat traditional biscuits, drink fizzy drinks and set off fireworks…all in our pyjamas of course. Since it was Chinese New Year, we were allowed to misbehave and no adult would dare to tell us off because it is considered bad luck to raise your voice in the new year.
I actually have lots of photos of traditional CNY sweets etc but can’t seem to work out how to transfer them from one folder into the blog, so it will have to wait. In the meantime, here’s a picture of a decoration which my mother put together. Hope you are enjoying the new year wherever you are in the world!