Have you ever wondered why the Chinese character “fu” (福), meaning happiness, is always hung upside down? This is because the Chinese word “dao” (倒), meaning “upside down”, is homophonous with the word “dao” (到), meaning “arrive”. Therefore, by hanging the “fu” character upside down, this symbolizes the arrival of luck, happiness, and prosperity.
This is the year of the Snake, the water snake, to be exact, which is touted as a good year in which to make money. So, make good financial investments and see your money grow! The Chinese zodiac cycles every 12 years, alternating between different elements for each of the animals. There are 4 elements (water, fire, metal, wood) which go through a cycle once every 60 years.
A staple Malaysian Chinese New Year dish is “yee sang”—we always think of it as traditionally Chinese, but the fact is that it’s a local tradition! Yee Sang was popularized in Malaysia and Singapore by Chinese immigrants, and became immensely popular in the 1960s. Each of the ingredients in Yee Sang is meant to signify different things. For example, raw fish signifies “abundance through the year” (年年有余), and pomelo and lime signify “good luck and smooth sailing” (大吉大利).