Lunar New Year, better known as Chinese New Year, is around the corner – a series of days where families and friends get together to celebrate, eat, pay their respects, pray for protection, health, love, and good fortune, clean, and welcome the New Year. The 2019 Chinese New Year celebration will be in honour of the 2019 Chinese zodiac sign, the Pig.
In Asia cultures, people are generally more superstitious and like to start the New Year off with a bang, literally, to ward off unwanted spirits and welcome in a prosperous new year! Traditionally, loud noises like Chinese firecrackers are used to celebrate, and a lion dance is not complete without the symphony of drums, gongs, and cymbals to scare bad spirits away. The lion (and dragon) itself symbolizes strength, happiness, longevity, prosperity, and good fortune. Experience a lion dance parade yourself at Central City’s 2019 Lunar New Year Fest on Saturday, February 2 from 10:00am to 2:00pm, along with other fun festivities.
There are many Chinese New Year traditions and cultural practices and we have all the essentials at Central City to help you prepare for a prosperous year ahead.
House cleaning is a big item on the to-do list. The idea is to sweep away all of the bad from the previous year to invite good luck and fortune into the house for the New Year. You can find plenty of cleaning and storage supplies right here at Walmart, Buck or Two Plus, Dollarama, T&T Supermarket, and Shoppers Drug Mart.
In conjunction with this, the interior of homes are decorated with red paper lanterns, and walls are pasted with red papers with lucky words like “fortune” and “luck”. Find a wide selection at T&T Supermarket. Similarly, Chinese knot-style ornaments are usually hung around the house, and can be found at Walmart and Buck or Two Plus. Bamboo plants are also a great idea as décor (or as a gift) as they are said to give good luck and fortune. Find some at T&T Supermarket and Continental Flowers.
Once the cleanse is completed and the decorations are up, a New Year dinner follows suit. The dinner is paramount to the Lunar New Year and is considered the focal point of the celebration – as that is when families and friends come together to pay their respects, give good wishes, give gifts, eat delicious food, and celebrate!
One of the most essential food items to have during the Lunar New Year is the Chinese New Year Cake, known as Nián gāo (年糕), which you can find at T&T Supermarket. Chinese New Year Cake in Chinese sounds exactly like Nián gāo (年高), which translates into “High Year” in English – implying a booming and successful year. Other traditional Chinese New Year dishes include dumplings (symbolizing fortune because of its gold ingot shape), whole fish and chicken (symbolizing unity), long noodles and Chinese greens (symbolizing longevity), and glutinous rice balls (symbolizing harmony). Find Asian recipe books from Black Bond Books, fresh ingredients from Fresh Farm Produce, Walmart, and T&T Supermarket, and baked Chinese pastries from Maxim’s Bakery. Decorate your dining table with a selection of beautiful red and gold placemats, napkins, bowls, and plates, which you can find at Bed Bath & Beyond.
To wish someone a Happy New Year is tradition and a must-do as a way to honour and respect your family and friends. Some phrases include “Gōng xǐ fā cái” (恭喜发财), and “Xīn nián kuài lè” (新年快乐). It is also tradition for those who are older and/or married to give out lucky red pockets/envelopes enclosed with money, known as Hóng Bāo (紅包) or Lì Shì (利是), to those who are younger. Find lucky red envelopes at T&T Supermarket or Buck or Two Plus. Central City will also be giving out lucky red envelopes (enclosed with a mystery Central City Gift Card) between January 28 and February 5 when you present same-day receipts totalling $100+ at Guest Services (located across from Best Buy).
See more pinspiring ideas on Central City’s Lunar New Year Pinterest board here.