Growing up in a very “Chinese” family, I’ve always taken a lot of things for granted. For example, when my late grandfather tells me stories of where my ancestors originated from (he is trying to tell me to remember my roots), or what he used to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner or something as simple as what they used to do for fun or what the Chinese operas are talking about, I’ve always found my mind wandering off to somewhere else rather than paying attention to his tales. As a Malaysian Chinese, I suppose it will be good to know how did our ancestors found their way to this beautiful land and call it their home. Aside from that, it is also good to know what sort of cultural practices did they bring along and try to preserve so that the younger generations will be able to remember them. To be honest, up till today, I’ve not much knowledge of my ancestral origin and traditional practices especially all the funny “pantang larang(s)”.
So… Where did they come from?
Based on a research from Fudan University in Shanghai, the Chinese people originated not from “Peking Man” in northern China, but from early humans in East Africa who moved through South Asia to China some 100,000 years ago. Interesting! Anyways, Malaysian Chinese are mainly originated from the Han Dynasty ancestral lineage. They made their way to Malaysia somewhere between 19th century and mid-20th century. They were mainly from Fujian and Guangdong provinces and northern China.
There’s more than Mandarin!
You will be surprised by the number of Chinese dialect that exist in Malaysia today. Ever wonder how many Chinese dialects are you able to speak? Since the Chinese immigrants come from so many parts of China, they have also brought together with them their very own dialects. Today, the few notable Chinese dialects that is still widely spoken by Malaysian Chinese besides Mandarin, there’s Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka and Hainanese. So, how many Chinese dialects have you mastered so far?
Did you know…
Besides Chinese New Year, there are a many other notable festivals that the Chinese folks celebrate. To name a few, there is the Duan Wu Festival – where triangle shaped glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in reed leaves are served , Mid-Autumn Festival – Best known as Mooncake Festival where a mooncakes are served with Chinese tea and children roam the streets with animal shaped lanterns, Qing Ming – families gather together at the grave of family members who have passed on and they do a spring cleaning to remember and pay respect to the dearly departed ones, Wesak Day – a day observed by the Buddhists to celebrate the birth of Gautama Buddha, Hungry Ghost Festival – ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm, Nine Emperor Gods Festival – a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar and Winter Solstice Festival – a celebration to greet the arrival of winter, usually a time for family members to get together and eat tangyuan or balls of glutinous rice.
As we enter a more modernized era now, many of us would have forgotten or do not have much knowledge of the meaning of most of the festivals that we celebrate. We always find ourselves clueless about why we celebrate those festivals when our friends of other races ask us about it. Well, it is always good to know at least what’s the occasion is all about right?
Pesta Tanglung Universiti Malaya 2017 is your answer!
Pesta Tanglung Universiti Malaya (PTUM) upholds the spirit and mission to retain and exhibit Chinese heritage and culture. The theme this year is “Rekindling the light, enlightening our descendants”. The PTUM’s crew strive their best to preserve the uniqueness of the Chinese culture, and also to inherit this tradition to younger generations.
You are able to learn more about the 5000 year-old Chinese heritage. Not only that, there will be a mini museum to showcase about the Chinese history and tradition. Aside from that, there will be a musical drama which instills moral values of real life. The main highlight of the Pesta Tanglung Universiti 2017 is the Lantern Carnival. Lantern symbolizes our spirit to be the guiding light, and we will strive our best to let this flame to continue to burn. In Chinese culture, the lantern is the main focus of attention of the celebration as it symbolizes the wish for a bright future.
So, do come and join us at Pesta Tanglung Universiti Malaya 2017 and embark on a journey to discover your roots or to experience the 5000 year-old Chinese heritage!