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February sees New Year celebrations in Chinatowns all over the world and while I’ve seen a few, nothing has beaten those in Malaysia.
In 2016, I spent the annual celebration in George Town, Penang. Besides this being an awesome destination in itself (foodies and street art fans get there NOW), it’s well renowned for it’s February festivities. Like lots of cities in Malaysia, there’s a large Chinese population which means lots of people celebrating and lots of performances and displays.
Reasons to visit Malaysia for Chinese New Year
I hear Kuala Lumpur has an equally impressive NYE scene so whichever you go for, here are my reasons to visit Malaysia over during celebration season:
1. Dragon parades
Have you been to a dragon parade? If not you really should! We sat in plastic chairs on the street with beers and watched a free dragon show. The dragon costume was worn by two men who shimmied, shook and twirked (yes, really) for the audience’s amusement. It was quite an experience.
2. Firework displays
I’ve never seen as many fireworks as I did from the top of the Kek Lok Si Temple hill on Chinese New Year. The whole sky was ablaze for what felt like hours and the atmosphere was incredible.
3. Noodle throwing contests – yes, really!
In Chinese tradition, the participant who can throw the noodles the highest will receive the most luck the following year. I was more preoccupied with trying to eat the bits I threw – luckily I didn’t receive any bad luck that I’m aware of.
4. Free food
After the noodle throwing and dragon parade, we ended up at a free food and drink party which anyone in the vicinity was invited to. Had I died and gone to heaven? Maybe but I think it was more likely down to the Chinese community’s generous spirit.
5. The temple light displays
Chinese temples are beautiful all year round but at Chinese New Year they are total goals. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as bright and vibrant as the Kek Lok Si Temple – make sure to pay it a visit.
A tip for your visit
Lots of shops shut over Chinese New Year and bus timetables are affected. Check out your journeys in advance otherwise you’re at risk of staying longer than planned (though I can’t say that would be a bad thing).
When is the next Chinese New Year?
The date for 2021 is 1 February. Time to get to Malaysia? I think plenty 😉
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See you next time for more adventures,