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CNY Isn’t A Religious But Cultural Celebration, These Are Some Histories You Have To Know

Pictures: TikTok Firdaus Wong

CNY is just around the corner! As Malaysians, everyone is excited to welcome another joyful festivity! Chinese, Indian, Malay and everyone from Borneo are eager to see the beauty of this ‘hopping’ celebration. It sure will be a bunny-tastic time!

Although we are familiar with the term Chinese New Year, many of us still don’t know the history of this festivity. Chinese around the world has been celebrating this for years, yet, do they know the true story of this ong-filled festival?

A famous Chinese preacher, Firdaus Wong, shared some interesting stories about CNY that you may not know about. What are they?

There are two versions of CNY in the historical timeline

According to Firdaus, no one knows the exact beginning of this celebration. There’s no specific date ever written in books. However, there are assumptions that CNY started 2,000 to 3,000 years BC. It was beyond the founder of Taoism, Siddharta Gautama Buddha and Lao Zi. Also, it was before the birth of Confucianism that Kong Zi pioneered the new teaching.

The first version: the legendary Nian

There’s a myth that went down the history from many years back. A monster named Nian resided in this one village in China. The monster loved bothering the villagers. With its horrifying features, many people were scared of Nian.


Picture: Travel China Guide

Nian would disturb the villagers during the change of season. Usually, it was from the harvesting to the flowering season. The monster killed many lives for its benefit.

Having enough of the monster’s disturbance, the villagers decided to do something about it. They agreed to light up a lot of firecrackers to scare Nian away. Additionally, the villagers painted their houses red to be seen as ‘fierce’.


Picture: Newsela

Miraculously, after doing those steps, the monster no longer bothered the villagers! They did this ‘ritual’ a few times, and it was proven true. Nian stopped disturbing the villagers once and for all.

That was the turning point for the Chinese. It had become a part of their tradition. Therefore, the Quo Nian celebration was born.

For your information, Quo Nian has two meanings. 1) Since the monster’s name is Nian, Quo Nian is like saying the monster has gone and won’t return. 2) Quo Nian is ‘new year’. Thus, the Chinese are celebrating the new year.

Until today, they will burn firecrackers and wear red during CNY!

The second version: researched by the team and Ex-Mufti of Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

The team and Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Al-Bakri conducted extensive research on the history of CNY. It was included in an article on the Mufti of Federal Territory’s Office website dated 11 February 2016.

According to them, China wasn’t a developed country like they are today. They experienced poverty and didn’t get to meet their families often. Why? They were too busy making money to survive.

Usually, families back then could gather during 1) a family member’s death, 2) a wedding ceremony, and 3) festivals. Since death and weddings didn’t always happen, the families could meet only during CNY celebrations.

CNY happens after harvesting month. So they could sell their harvest and have some pocket money. Hence, they could meet their families with some savings in hand.


Picture: Listverse

The festival shows the richness of a culture

Many think CNY is a religious celebration. But it’s not. Firdaus explained it’s more to embracing the beauty of the heritage passed down by many generations.

If you’re ever wary of wishing your Chinese friends during the new year, don’t worry! You aren’t going against your religion by doing so.

Now we know some of the histories of this celebration. Today we learned!

Festivities should be celebrated together. We hope CNY 2023 will bring joy and luck to everyone. Xin nian kuai le!

Sources: TikTok Firdaus Wong, Website Mufti of Federal Territory’s Office

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