Chinese New Year is known for fun family gatherings and vibrant festivities. According to Chinese traditions, the New Year celebrations, or Spring Festival, ward away misfortune and evil. The Chinese New Year celebrations also serve as a mechanism to keep families united during times of growth and change.
One of the most obvious signs of the arrival of Chinese New Year is extravagant parades. On the evening of Chinese New Year, large parades are held in Brunei’s Chinatown. During the procession of these parades, spectators can expect to see floats, dancers, and costumes. These parades are also quite colourful; just about all of the decorations are coloured with red fabric or paint. Gold is a common secondary colour for these decorations. According to Chinese myths, the colour red will ward away evil spirits and bring good fortune throughout the upcoming year.
In the Chinese communities of Brunei, the dragon dance of the Han and the lion dance of the Cantonese are both used to celebrate the arrival of the lunar new year. This demonstrates a blending of Chinese cultures in Brunei. At these celebrations, dancers dress in the costumes of lions and dragons to bring good fortune. Firecrackers and drums often accompany their dance routines. Lion costumes are occupied by two dancers. Since the dragon costume is significantly larger than the lion costume, it is occupied by four dancers.
Chinese people in Brunei will often thoroughly clean their homes prior to the Chinese New Year celebrations. Traditionally, this pays respect to the ancestral spirits of a Chinese family. Today, the practice of spring cleaning allows people to clean up their homes and clear up any unfinished business. During this time, people are also expected to pay off their debts.