Chinese New Year
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Chinese New Year occurs between January 21st and February 20th (in 2019 it falls on February 5th) and is the most popular holiday celebration in China and in Chinese communities around the world, including our large Chinese population here in British Columbia. Celebrate this 3,000 year-old tradition with decorations and delicious food that is full of symbolism. Many foods are chosen because the word for them sounds similar to words for luck, prosperity and good fortune or their shape is symbolic.
Decorate with red
Red is the colour of joy and good fortune and is used in abundance in New Year celebrations. String up red lanterns and other red paper cut-outs of auspicious symbols like grains which represent a good harvest. Hand out pretend paper money in red envelopes. Dress up in red clothes.
Enjoy these traditional foods:
• Mixed vegetables symbolize family harmony.
• Lettuce dishes sound like the words “to make money”.
• Noodles symbolize longevity.
• Dumplings symbolize wealth and togetherness due to their shape like an ancient gold nugget.
• Sticky Rice symbolizes unity.
• Oranges, mandarins, kumquats and pomelos represent wholeness due to their round shape.
Celebrate food and agriculture
On the eighth day of the New Year, it is common to celebrate the importance of food and agriculture. Family feasts are key as is visiting farms to learn about crops and cultivation. It may be a challenge to visit a farm in BC in February so look at photos or a book about farming. Or if you’re in an urban area, visit the city’s Chinatown—Victoria has the oldest one in Canada and it is a National Historic site.
For more ideas and to learn about the Chinese calendar: