Celebrating Lunar New Year in ASEAN Countries

orange hanging paper lantern lot

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by millions of people around the world. In this article, we will explore how several ASEAN countries embrace this joyous occasion and delve into the unique customs and traditions that make each celebration truly special.

Singapore: A Vibrant Fusion of Cultures

In the multicultural melting pot of Singapore, Lunar New Year is a grand affair. Streets are adorned with colorful decorations, and the air is filled with the tantalizing aroma of delicious food. Families gather for reunion dinners, where traditional dishes like Yu Sheng (raw fish salad) are shared, symbolizing abundance and prosperity. The Chingay Parade, featuring elaborate floats and vibrant performances, is a highlight of the festivities.

Vietnam: Tet Nguyen Dan – The Festival of Reunions

In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is known as Tet Nguyen Dan, a time for family reunions and paying respects to ancestors. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to welcome good luck, and families offer food and incense at ancestral altars. The streets come alive with lion dances, fireworks, and vibrant flower markets. Traditional dishes like Banh Chung (sticky rice cake) and Mut (preserved fruits) are savored during this auspicious occasion.

Malaysia: Gong Xi Fa Cai – A Cultural Melting Pot

In Malaysia, Lunar New Year, known as Gong Xi Fa Cai, is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the Chinese community. The streets of Kuala Lumpur come alive with vibrant decorations, and shopping malls host lion and dragon dance performances. Open houses are a common tradition, where friends and family of all backgrounds are welcomed to share in the festive cheer. Traditional delicacies like pineapple tarts and yee sang (prosperity toss) are savored.

Indonesia: Imlek – A Time for Reflection

In Indonesia, Lunar New Year, known as Imlek, is celebrated predominantly by the Chinese community. It is a time for reflection and paying respects to ancestors. Families gather for reunion dinners, and temples are visited to offer prayers and seek blessings. The streets are adorned with lanterns, and lion and dragon dances add to the festive spirit. Traditional snacks like kue keranjang (sticky rice cakes) are shared among loved ones.


Across these ASEAN countries and others, Lunar New Year is a time of joy, unity, and cultural celebration. Each country brings its own unique customs and traditions to this auspicious occasion, creating a tapestry of vibrant festivities. From Singapore’s multicultural extravaganza to Vietnam’s family reunions, Malaysia’s cultural melting pot, and Indonesia’s reflective traditions, Lunar New Year in ASEAN countries is a truly unforgettable experience.

So, no matter where you are in Southeast Asia, embrace the spirit of Lunar New Year and revel in the joyous celebrations that bring communities together.

*Photo of Chingay Parade courtesy of visitsingapore.com