News Release

Family is the Focus during Chinese New Year 

Lunar New Year Celebrations are centered around the Family

Family is the Focus during Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Malaysia celebrate their lunar New Year with traditions old and new, with family and friends, with celebratory food and fashion, but most especially with family!  It is a time to be together.  Businesses are closed. Big city roads are deserted. Fireworks are launched.  Lion dances are displayed. The holiday has begun!  Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy New Year!

To Emily, who works in KL but lives and travels home to Ipoh on weekends, the Chinese New Year is the most anxiously anticipated and celebrated event of the year! Gathering as an extended family is all important. Everyone comes “home for the holidays.” Preparations for food and festivities begin well in advance.  Grandma supervises the kitchen for weeks of planning, ingredient shopping, baking, and then cooking.  Some of the delicious traditional foods are only made during this time of year, keeping them special!  The whole family helps, bringing them all together. The men carry the heavy loads into the kitchen, stir pots of cooking foods, and even wash dishes! The women talk and laugh while chopping and measuring.  They obviously enjoy being together. Emily has precious memories of learning to cook beside her grandmother, and now loves to cook! She said that even though her family home is not huge, it will be the center of happy times with as many as 72 people there for dinner!

Children are raised to help with the preparations and they love this special time of year. On the first day of Chinese New Year, a 15 day celebration, children awaken to be dressed in all new clothing  and then receive red packets from their parents.  Ang pau, the fancy red packets, contain treats or money, traditional gifts for the New Year! The color red is proudly displayed in decorations and honored in special occasion clothing worn by men and women alike.  

Mandarin oranges are given as gifts to others to wish them prosperity for the New Year!  Cases of mandarins for sale are seen on sidewalks and in stores for more than a month in advance. An often seen tradition to begin family dinners is the tossing of the yee sang (salad) for prosperity in the coming year.

Visiting ancestral burial sites is part of the holiday tradition.  Ancestors are remembered, honored and revered as gathered family members offer them food and drink and light candles and fireworks.  

Carol, a Church member from the Puchong Branch, travels to celebrate with siblings and extended family since her children are away at school.  She presents nieces and nephews with red envelopes and enjoys meals and “catching up” with family members.  Time away from work is cherished so it is spent with the people most important to her.  She said that Chinese New Year is to Malaysia what Christmas is to America!  

Mormons believe “The family is ordained of God…Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners*” in the discharge of their joint family responsibilities in rearing their children in love and righteousness, providing for them, and teaching them to love and serve one another and to observe the commandments of God.  One of the most important things a family can do is to focus on making time for each other.  Traditions help families grow stronger and happier together.  It is well worth the effort.  For more information on strengthening your family, go to  

*The Family; A Proclamation To The World; September 1995

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