I love celebrating Chinese New Year in my beloved Melaka. Red curtains, red lanterns, people wearing red shirts. Love them all. Owh, don’t forget the red packets, love those especially!
Today I went to AEON Bandaraya Melaka, also known as “the new Jusco” to the locals. Recently opened on 5 February 2010, it’s the latest addition to the many malls and hypermarkets in Melaka. As of now, we have 2 Juscos, 2 Mydins, 2 Giants, 2 Parksons, 1 Tesco and 1 Carrefour. That’s a big number for a very small state (the second smallest state in Malaysia after Perlis). One thing for sure, we Malaccans love to shop. Every time I’m back in Melaka, I usually to go to a different mall. Each time, no matter which mall I go to, there’s always lots of people! No wonder those big retail players can’t resist opening malls here!
Since tomorrow’s Chinese New Year, this new kid on the block (the AEON mall, not me) went all out to make a presence.
There was a Chinese acrobatic show going on when I got there. Impressive! The big letter 虎 at the background means “tiger”.
The center stage was elaborately decorated with everything red. The banner says 金虎迎春 – Golden Tiger Welcomes Spring.
What does that signify? Ladies and gentlemen, in the spirit of 1Malaysia, allow me to educate to you a little bit on Chinese New Year celebration. Let’s start with the words on the banner:
金 - Golden
虎 - Tiger
迎 - Welcomes
春 - Spring
In Chinese calendar, each year is associated to three things.
Firstly the animal zodiac - 12 of them: rat, ox, tiger, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Hence the zodiac cycle repeats every 12 years.
Secondly the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
Thirdly the two stems: yin and yang. Each of the five elements has its yin and yang, resulting in 10 stems: yang wood, yin wood, yang fire, yin fire, yang earth, yin earth, yang metal, yin metal, yang water and yin water.
The element “metal” is also known as “white” as metal is technically white in color. However the term “white tiger” is a bit of a bad luck in Chinese. Why? Imagine a tiger wearing metal (i.e. armor) over its body. How uncomfortable it must be for the tiger. You have one restless and unhappy tiger. No level-minded human being dares to come near. It has bad luck written all over. So how do we avoid it? Simple, the element “metal” is also associated with “gold”. So “white tiger” is also known as “golden tiger”. Ah, that sounds a lot better.
The stem “yin” and “yang” alternates each year. This year is yin’s turn. Yin symbolizes female energy. Slow, soft, insubstantial, diffuse, cold, wet, and tranquil - those are usually associated with yin.
Hence 2010 Chinese New Year is known as “The Year of Yin Golden Tiger”.
This one is much less technical. Chinese New Year is also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. In Chinese calendar, the auspicious day falls on the start of the spring. Hence, by celebrating the new year we actually welcome the arrival of spring.
There you go, a bit of this year’s Chinese New Year celebration. As I’m typing this entry, I can hear the sounds of fireworks being lit around the neighborhood. With that, this proud Malaccan of Malay-Chinese parentage wishes all of you a very Happy Chinese New Year!