The colours and traditions of Chinese New Year

KUALA LUMPUR: The pineapple signifies luck and a better future while the pomelo signifies well-being, good health and family ties.

Therefore, it is not surprising that both fruits are seen auspicious by the Chinese society and this is probably the reason why they come into the picture during Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations.

Among others the pomelo is one of the ingredients of the Yee Sang, the prosperity toss, and lanterns in the shape of pineapple adorn Chinese homes to bring good luck to the occupants.

The same goes to mandarin oranges that the Chinese believe symbolises the sun and the generative force of nature. In Cantonese the fruit is called ‘gut’ and symbolises good fortune.

The Red is Dominant:

These are among the many symbolic items along with the colour red used to lure good tidings during the new year.

Red also symbolises summer, the fire element and the south direction.

Home embellishments, lights, lanterns, firecrackers and ang pows all come in red signifying happiness, prosperity, good luck (ong) and rejuvenation.

And even the non-Chinese will appreciate the red envelope – ang pow – containing money.

Speaking of giving ang pows, the newly wed Foo Swee Ling, 36, said for the first time she would be handing out the ang pow packets to her nephews and nieces.

“Traditions say that ang pow be given by those married to the senior citizens and the unmarried young close relatives,” she said.

As the RM10 note is also red in colour, Foo plans to hand out ‘double ong’ by filling the envelope with the note.

Red is also Dominant in Weddings:

Red is not only important during the festive season, but also during Chinese weddings.

Foo who hails from Selayang said in her younger days the Chinese weddings will be a real ‘red affair’.

“Among others, there would be many giant red candles carved in the shape of dragons to get rid of bad spirits.

“The bride also dons red wedding dress as a sign of happiness and loyalty, while the siblings would don red costume to share the happiness,” she added.

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