Chinese New Year is just around the corner and 2017 heralds the Year of the Rooster. Marking the start of the Chinese lunar calendar, this festival is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most important cultural celebrations and officially lasts 15 days (though only the first two days are public holidays).
This year the official festivities kick off on January 28th but the celebrations do not last for just a day or two. In KL, during the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, there will be lion and dragon dances, red paper lanterns, fake cherry blossoms and acrobatics in major malls and temples during the weekends, plus you are sure to see a fantastic display of fireworks throughout the city.
According to legend, on the first day of the New Year Chinese villagers used to be terrorised by a mythical creature called Nian; to ward him off they used loud sounds and the colour red. That is why today celebrants use plenty of red décor and firecrackers feature prominently during the celebrations.
Familial customs for Chinese New Year include cleaning the house to ‘sweep away the bad luck’, giving ang pows (red envelopes with money inside) to kids and making offerings to ancestors. But you can also see other more public traditions such as clothes shopping (a sign of a fresh start to the New Year) and ‘open houses’ (elaborate parties with family and friends).