Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Happy Chinese New Year 2012

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

It's now Spring time which will be marked by the Harvesting New Year by Chinese brothers and sisters. I wish everyone who celebrate it in Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, Japan, Korea and everywhere with Chinese diaspora community Happy Agricultural New Year 2012. I can't go home because of the pressure to finish up this thesis yet I am trying to find the design of the thesis. Quite tensed and sad but what can I do. I must try to finish the thesis as it has become apart of my responsibility to finish up whatever that I had begin.

Point of Culture

Nakhorn Sri Thammarat Coat of Arm, Southern Thailand Province 

About the culture of the Malaysian Northerners or Orang Kedah and how does it is related to Chinese New Year and why I also celebrate it. Orang Kedah generally refers to the citizen of the state of Kedah and it also includes those outside of the border of the state but speaking in the language and its dialects regardless ethnicity whether Malays, Hybrid Arabs, Arabs, Chinese, Indian, Siamese or etc. 

We actually have the traditional cycle of year called as Piama or Cycle of Agricultural Season. Not many Kedah youngsters know about this but I am aware about our differences from the rest of states in Malaysia because we preserve some points of our state's traditional culture as compared to other Kedah Malay compatriots. 

It is cognitive to Chinese zodiacs or calenders with some differences. Those zodiacs are called in different language which is different from Thai or Malay. Altogether there are 12 zodiacs just like the Chinese ones. Once upon a time, we also celebrate Agricultural New Year with the Sultan or King opening the water gate for paddy fields in the city and horse racing in the field. In case of respective non-Muslim King like in Thailand, there would also be Brahmin involvement and Buddhism rituals for blessings. The New Year in Southern area including Southern part of Yunnan with Dai ethnic begins with Songkrant festival around April like Indian New Year and not with the New Year as in Spring like Chinese brothers and sisters celebrate.

The zodiacs also represent our ancient states which collaborate with each others to protect themselves from foreign attacks. My state, the state of Kedah is represented in the coat of arm by the Merong or Dragon. Kelantan is represented by Khal or Tiger. And so on. This year is the year of Dragon which is also the same with Chinese calender. The coat of arm is not our state's coat of arm but belongs to Nakhorn Sri Thammarat of Thailand. It is a province in southern Thailand but it was also an ancient Malay dynasty in Siamese empire where it incorporates itself with another kingdom known as Sukhothai from the North since 12th C. Southern Thai area has a very long history since the first century which makes everything in our area being shared by each other and confusing.

The Zodiacs of Kedah Agricultural Year

Chuwat  Rat
Chalu Cow
Khan Tiger
Thoh Rabbit
Merong Dragon
Masing Snake
Mamea Horse
Mameh Goat
Wok Monkey
Raga Roaster
Chaw Dog
Gur Turtle

The year calculation is basically the same with Chinese zodiac year calculation. Usually Muslim farmers would use Arabic-Roman influenced monthly calender accompanied with this zodiac to check the season of paddy agricultural period. Buddhist would use Hindu-Buddhist influenced solar calender as well to count months with the zodiac for year calculation.

Once again, Happy Agricultural New Year and the Year of Dragon to Chinese brothers and sisters regardless what faith you are. We celebrate the same thing at this point. Take care and drive safely if you are returning home to celebrate it with family.

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace, and love, amin!

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