Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Festive Season

What do you like most in festive season? How do you feel in festive season, along the way, year after year from childhood to adulthood? Feelings may be different year after year but the joyful memories remain.

For people whose ethnicity is Chinese, regardless of where they are and what their nationality is, Chinese New Year is the most important celebration in the whole year. In this year of Dragon, 2012, we celebrate it from 23rd Jan for 15 days.

Many Malaysian Chinese (ethnic Chinese born in Malaysia) go out from the country for their tertiary education or work but most of them make the effort to go back to Malaysia for reunion with their family to celebrate this joyous occasion. Malaysia is a country with about 30% Chinese ethnic composition and it retains the Chinese tradition very well although in a modern society. I even heard some Chinese from China said that Malaysia retains the tradition better than the mainland China itself. As usual, I went back home from Singapore to celebrate it with my family.

The Chinese tradition I talked about include listening to new year songs, visiting relatives, saying wishes, giving red envelopes to children and unmarried adults, cleaning home, decorating home and have reunion dinner on the eve, gambling, making food together and eating together.

Visiting temple is not a necessary part of the celebration but some people do visit. To me it is something special to me in the celebration this year. With family, I went to a large temple called Dong Zen Temple.

Bird-eye’s view of the Dong Zen Temple.

Shrine in the Main Hall.

This is the first time I went to the temple and I was amazed by the size and richness of it, in a country where Chinese is not the majority. The bird-eye’s view and the shrine above are much less than what I saw that night because more decorative lightings were on at the outdoor.  Let’s look at some of the photos and videos I took:

Long dragon lighting on the grass, at the entrance of the temple that looks like a bridge.

Another dragon lighting, with real flowers. Does it look a bit like a crocodile? xD This is art!

Center for meditation/training. A dragon boat is in front of it.

The dragon boat lighting from another angle.

Large cartoony light statues, their hands are actually waving!

A mandarin plant just outside the Main Hall.

Dragon statue around the walkway (head).

They really built it AROUND the walkway (body).

Dragon statue around the walkway (tail), with a thousand-hand Buddha behind.

Dragon around a large lantern.

Orchid by the walkway.

Lanterns of fish couple and…(see next photo)

Lanterns of dragon boat and lotus flower, near the lake of Koi fishes.

The Koi fishes with music of a song of Chinese New Year.  The music was broadcasted around the entire outdoor of the temple, it felt very festive while walking there!

Walking on there with more music! The music is non-stop and loud but comfortable enough for talking. This video shows a bit of what I saw and heard while walking.

The exit. Written on the arch “turning back is shore”. It has the implied meaning that, whatever your past is and no matter how bad your present is, if you’re willing to go back to the good thing (either behavior and/or state of mind), everything will still be stable and wonderful. To me, putting these words at the exit also has the meaning like “hey don’t go yet, have you missed out something? Are you ready to venture outside?” in a humorous but serious way.

And that’s all I wish to share about Chinese New Year for this post. I’ll talk more about each of the tradition and what they constitute, what happen exactly and what exactly we do with these traditions. They form an indispensible part of how the Chinese society works.

Besides, I had a wonderful Christmas in Finland with Minna. It was my first time in a place with wintery climate on Christmas so it feels like I had just lived my real Christmas then. I want to live real Christmases in a wintery country more and more!

Of course, Minna will be the better person to start talking about Christmas. I’d love to read what Christmas mean to her and to a Finn. Let’s look forward to her post about Christmases. I believe everyone shares some same feelings about festive season, whatever your festivity is. There is joy, there is togetherness, unavoidably, there is also a bit of missing someone sometimes, and reflection to the past. And maybe everyone eats more than usual and gets fat too, in festive season, I did! I’m so fat now! It’s time to shape up and I better get going! (:

Wish all your festive seasons be merry!


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