Meaningful ways to usher in the Year of the Pig

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KOTA KINABALU - Red-coloured decorations such as lanterns, Chinese calligraphy scrolls and pictures or ornaments related to the Chinese zodiac signs are must-have items for many celebrating Chinese New Year.

Spring cleaning that comes with decorating the house has been a tradition passed down for generations.

But in recent years, many families have opted to do away with these traditions, citing wastage and time constraints as the main reasons.

Many think that time spent with families, close friends and loved ones are more important and signi­ficant than decorations to mark Chinese New Year.

Makeup artist and mother of one, Tan Siew Wei, 31, did not decorate her house for Chinese New Year this time around because she just did not have the time.

"Apart from working almost every day, I have to spend time caring for my nine-month-old son, she said.

Tan only carried out general cleaning of her house to welcome the new year.

"I also have to make sure meals are served at home. Going out to get decorations, hanging them and then having to take them all down again after CNY is just a lot of hassle for me," she added.

Instead of wasting so much time, effort and money on such decorations, Tan felt that it would make more sense to focus on visiting families, welcoming guests and spending quality time with her loved ones.

Rebecca Chong, a 31-year-old mother of three, said her busy schedule as a property agent and part-time tuition teacher just does not allow her the extra time to go decoration shopping.

"I could not bring myself to go find the right decorations and then put them up," she said.

She said her parents still do the decorations at their house. But for her, she merely makes sure her house is clean and presentable.

"Maybe this is something the younger generation prefer to do away with, unless they really have the time and energy to clean the whole house," she added

For mother of one Chong Lee Kian, she considers herself lucky to be able to do spring cleaning, although it's done at the last minute.

"I have just started cleaning the house. We will be decorating after this, not much, but at least we want to see some decorations," she added.

She said she and her husband work together to clean their house, although their three-year-old son messes things up again.

"Our son is happy to take the broom, sweep around, pick up a cloth and wipe the tables. Actually, he makes things messier," she said.

"But it's fine, as long as he feels that he is helping and is happy."

She said such celebrations and sprucing up the house helps to bring the family together, although it can be tiring.

"For us, Chinese New Year is all about spending more time with our families, even though it means cleaning the house and causing our backs to ache in the process," she said.