KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — The tradition of hosting a big reunion dinner to celebrate Lunar New Year with family members continues to thrive as the Chinese community eagerly anticipates the arrival of the Year of the Dragon tomorrow.
As observed by Bernama at several homes across the nation tonight, this tradition, believed to bring both fortune and profound symbolic significance, clearly reflects the harmony present in the country.
In Pahang, married couple Nur Allyshia Low Kim Choon, and Abdul Wafa Mohd Amadzun, both 30, aspire for the harmony and unity cultivated within their family to become a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Nur Allyshia, of mixed Chinese and Orang Asli heritage, shared that despite embracing Islam, she and her husband cherish the Chinese New Year festivities and they frequently gather for dinner with her father Low Kim Choon, 52, and mother Wong Chew Mei, 55, on Chinese New Year eve.
“At first, it felt a bit strange for us, but as time passed, it became routine, and we’re delighted to celebrate with both sides of our family during both festive occasions,” she told Bernama.
Nur Allyshia Low Kim Choon, 30, (4th left) and her parents and family during reunion dinner in Kuantan, Pahang, February 9, 2024. — Bernama pic
Nur Allyshia, the eldest of four siblings said unity among Malaysians has enabled people of different religions and races to live harmoniously while maintaining their respective cultural identities.
Meanwhile, in Selangor, the Chinese community here preferred to host their Chinese New Year reunion dinner at restaurants and hotels, despite some still choosing to celebrate the occasion in the comfort of their own homes.
Private sector employee Jamunah Cherlynn Goh Siew Wei, 30, who is of Indian and Chinese descent, chose to hold the dinner at a restaurant this year due to her mother’s declining health.
“Usually, my Chinese mother, cooks a variety of Chinese and Indian dishes, but it’s a bit limited this year. What’s more important is that our family can gather and share stories, that’s the priority,” said Jamunah who celebrates the occasion in Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang.
In Penang, 22-year-old private sector employee Chew Shin Hui said the reunion dinner holds great significance as it provides an opportunity for family bonding and emphasises the importance of passing down traditions to the younger generation.
Lim Chin Ewe, 69, (right) enjoying the reunion spread with his family at his home at Lim Jetty, Jalan Pengkalan Weld, February 9, 2024. — Bernama pic
“I want to preserve the Chinese cultural tradition among the younger generation, and this year, my two brothers who work in Singapore also returned here for the reunion dinner and to celebrate the Chinese New Year,” he said.
In Perlis, Khoo Sung Sing, 42, said unlike previous years, this was his first reunion dinner at his mother’s house in Kuala Sanglang, Arau.
“My family only has five people. After my father’s death five years ago, my mother stayed here. Usually, I would take my mother to my house, but this time I want to celebrate the new year here,” Khoo, who resides in Jitra, Kedah, said.
At the same time, Khoo hopes that the arrival of the Year of the Dragon will bring blessings and luck to his family, and also expressed happiness that there will be a latest addition to the family soon.
Meanwhile, Qila Ismail, 35, said this was her first time attending a Chinese New Year reunion dinner at the invite of her future husband’s family and experiencing first-hand the unique Chinese tradition.
Tee Seng, 77, (centre) tosses Yee Sang during reunion dinner at his home in Jalan Pandamaran Klang, February 9, 2024. — Bernama pic
“This is my first time at my future husband’s family home with the hope of strengthening ties with my future in-laws. For me, this is an interesting experience to familiarise and understand the traditions of various ethnicities,” she said.
In Johor, the reunion dinner hosted by State Health and Unity Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon was lively with the presence of about 30 family members for a steamboat-themed feast in Tongkang Pechah, Batu Pahat.
“This year’s celebration is quite lively compared to the past few years due to COVID-19. Family members can return home and spend their holidays visiting relatives,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tneo Kai Ler, 36, who is of Peranakan descent, said the reunion dinner in his family in Batu Pahat was slightly different with rice, dishes and kueh (traditional cakes) being served.
“For the Chinese community, they usually prefer porridge and boiled or soup-based dishes, as well as some types of snacks,” Tneo said. — Bernama