Southeast Asia: Cultural Mix Welcoming Lunar New Year

Southeast Asia celebrated cultural mix in many ways, including the most recent Lunar New Year. New World Encyclopedia records that most Southeast Asian countries top the list of the most significant number of Chinese birth or descent population. Local people celebrate the exuberant holiday with a mix of local flavours due to the lengthy history of trade and emigration between China and Southeast Asia. 

Brunei Darussalam

In Brunei, the Chinese New Year is one of the major public holidays. Chinese people frequently do cleaning days before the Chinese New Year festivities. This honours a Chinese family’s ancestors according to tradition. The custom of spring cleaning today enables people to organise their living spaces and take care of unfinished business. People are also expected to pay off their debts during this time.


Lunar New Year celebrations in Cambodian Chinese communities are less likely to feature massive crowds and extravagant parades. Chinese-born Cambodians typically decorate their homes, gather with family for traditional meals, and pay respect to their ancestors at Chinese folk temples.


Indonesians with Chinese ancestry have left their mark on the archipelago. The Bornean city of Singkawang is among the best examples. The Tatung Parade, a remarkable cultural fusion between local ethnic Chinese and the Dayak people of Borneo, is even more striking than the city’s tens of thousands of red lanterns. The Tatung Parade is a magnificent example of cultural fusion between the indigenous Dayak people of Borneo and the ethnic Chinese of the area.


To commemorate the upcoming Chinese New Year, several cultural activities have been held in the Lao capital by the China Cultural Centre in Laos and the Liaoning Province’s northeastern Culture and Tourism Department of China. The 2023 “Happy Chinese New Year” Festival activities got underway with the Ancient Chinese Landscape Painting Exhibition with the theme “Picturesque Rivers and Mountains. Through the celebration, Lao people experienced the profundity of Chinese culture and the allure of Chinese landscapes through the festival.


The Lunar New Year celebrations in Malaysia are lavish and colourful because nearly a quarter of the country’s citizens are of Chinese descent. Young girls reportedly threw Mandarin oranges into the sea, hoping that if they recovered, they would help them find good husbands. This is known as the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day for a reason.


The Chairman of the State Administration Council, the Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar, the Chairman of the Myanmar Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and other pertinent officials attended the Chinese New Year celebration in Yangon, which was held at the National Indoor Stadium Thuwunna. Besides, the friendly festival basketball match strengthens the friendship between the two countries. 


The majority-Chinese island nation of Singapore acknowledges the Chinese lunar new year for the entire two weeks, with numerous celebrations occurring across the country. Celebrating Chinese New Year involves much more than just taking in the sight of all the red and gold lanterns. It is more about understanding Singapore’s Chinese heritage and how genuinely multicultural this country is.

The Philippines

The largest Chinese New Year celebrations take place in the Philippines in Manila’s historic Binondo neighbourhood, which is also home to the world’s oldest Chinatown. Binondo comes alive during Lunar New Year as people gather around lion and dragon dancers and local politicians and celebrities distribute free candy and lucky charms from opulent vehicles.


Thai people held Lunar New Year celebrations in crowds. However, the less frequented province of Nakhon Sawan hosted grander celebrations. As part of the Lunar New Year celebrations, people in the Pak Nam Pho district honour the protector spirits of their province by holding a 12-day festival known as Pak Nam Pho Chinese New Year.

Viet Nam

The celebration of the Chinese New Year relies heavily on food. Additionally, during this significant festival, families visit the graves of their loved ones who have passed away, give the kids packets of money, and lay offerings on their altars.

The ASEAN Mayors Forum 2023

UCLG ASPAC, as Secretariat of ASEAN Mayors Forum, is currently having a close coordination with Jakarta Provincial Government, the host of the upcoming ASEAN Mayors Forum 2023. With the Indonesia’s ASEAN Chairmanship this year “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, UCLG ASPAC and Jakarta City will put forward opportunities for diverse collaboration to boldly encourage the growth of cities within the region. Stay tuned with us for more updates!

From various sources