“Are you returning to your hometown for CNY?” This is one of the most popular questions people will ask each other every time the festive season is around the corner.
With CNY being one of the major festivals that’s celebrated in Malaysia, many have jumped at the opportunity to take a long break and travel back to their hometowns to reunite with their family.
As such, here are a list of 5 things Malaysians can relate to when they return to their hometown for the holidays!
1. Complain about traffic/flight issues
With thousands of people returning to their hometown to celebrate CNY, there’s bound to be traffic-related issues both on the ground and in the air.
Drivers will have to sit through hours of horrible traffic jams in hopes of getting to their destination on time and safely while trying not blast away on the horn towards the car travelling 20km/h in front of them.
As for those looking to travel by taking to the skies, several complications may arise too such as overpriced tickets, cancelled/delayed flight and the airline website crashing after 1000 times of pressing the ‘Refresh’ button.
However, all these problems is quickly forgotten once we arrive home and see our loved ones, reminding us that all the trouble we went through was well worth it.
2. So much fireworks!
If you work or live in the city, you’d know that setting off fireworks is generally a big no-no and can be met with swift consequences if caught by the authorities.
Thus, it’s no surprise that Malaysians often go wild on fireworks as soon as they arrive at their hometown in rural areas, where they’re far away from the watchful eyes of the police and stock up on fireworks that can last for a few days.
Whenever I return to my hometown in Kuching, Sarawak, I’m constantly amazed by the stamina of the folks in playing with fireworks, often lasting well into the wee hours of the morning.
While this may cut short the beauty sleep of many, but you simply can’t resist seeing the bright colours of fireworks lighting up the sky!
3. Makan, makan, makan
Can you even call yourself a Malaysian if one of your main hobbies isn’t eating good food?
Aside from getting big, fat ang paos from family members, another highlight of CNY is the amount of sumptuous food that’s being prepared as the family huddles together for a reunion meal.
One of the most iconic CNY dishes is the yee sang, where everyone tosses the ingredients high up into the air to usher in a prosperous year.
Not only that, there’s also an abundance of CNY snacks and cookies that’s within easy reach in every household and guaranteed to make the weighing scale weep a few months later. But hey, once a year wouldn’t hurt, right?
On a side note, check out WeirdKaya’s ranking of CNY cookies here!
4. Catching up or interrogation?
“What are you studying right now?”
“How much are you earning?”
“Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”
If you haven’t been to a CNY gathering before, be warned that these are the questions that will be asked. But if you have, it probably sounds like a broken record by now.
CNY is often the time where well-meaning but nosy relatives would swamp the younger ones with questions about their future or major events that occurred during the past year.
At certain points in time, the questions may get more invasive, especially those pertaining to the nitty gritty details of our love life.
However, we need to always remember to stay polite and considerate towards our elders no matter how busybody they can get. After all, they ask because they care!
5. No Genting, no problem!
While the younger folks receive money through ang paos, the older ones try to ‘regain’ what they gave away – by gambling.
Classic games such as blackjack, mahjong, pai gow and dai di (big two) are among some of the most popular games played during CNY, where everyone tries their hand to win some cash.
While most would get flustered or excited when the stakes get higher, it’s a rite of passage for experienced players to teach and guide the younger generation how to play and most importantly, maintain a good poker face!
However, it is important to note that these games should be kept discreet as private gambling can get you fined by the police, as stated in the Betting Act 1953. So make sure to play in the privacy of your own home with all the curtains drawn!
Whether you spend your Chinese New Year in your hometown or not, we hope that everyone gets to spend this festive season surrounded by their loved ones and have tons of fun!
Gong Xi Fa Cai from everyone at WeridKaya team!