Chinese New Year Preparations

Growing up Chinese, one of the many things I enjoyed about my culture was the Lunar New Year. It was a time of family gatherings, staying up late, lots of food, sweets and lucky red pockets stuffed with money! It was tradition to have a big family dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve and stay up all night waiting for the new year to come.

Of the many traditions of Chinese New Year, one of the most important is the preparation that goes into the festivities. Leading up to the new year, the house is cleaned thoroughly (similar to spring cleaning) and decorations are put up.

The ancestral table must be cleaned and offerings made to the ancestors which include fruits, flowers and food.

New Year couplets of blessings are written on red paper and hung up around the house as well as papers with the word fortune written on it.

My favourite part of the New Year decorations were the flowers. Representing new growth, fresh cut blooms in reds, yellows and all sorts of bright colours are arranged in vases around the house.

Certain flowers hold specific significance for the Lunar New Year. Oranges represent abundance so many people decorate with plates of clementines or kumquat plants. Orchids represent fertility and abundance and are a favourite during this time. Pussy willows represent prosperity and are often decorated with bright red bows. Chrysanthemums represent longevity and are favoured in hues of gold and yellow which also represents wealth.

If you’re a first generation Canadian/American Chinese, how do you celebrate the Lunar New Year? If you’re not Chinese, what traditions do your cultures have and how do you celebrate them here in North America? Drop me a line and let me know!

Have a very happy Chinese New Year to all those who celebrate!

XO, Amy

2 comments

  1. Some of my family’s Chinese New Year traditions are not all that “Chinese” – like the annual Spin of Prosperity dinner at the CN Tower’s revolving restaurant. It actually surprises many people because of that (see my Lunar New Year post), with some finding it really weird. We also have the custom of eating long noodles on the seventh day, day 7 being “people day” or “man’s birthday” as long noodles are eaten on birthdays to symbolize a long life. My husband is Jewish and some of the traditions we follow include the following:

    – Eating apples dipped in honey for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) as they both symbolize having a sweet new year
    – Lighting a menorah (okay, we have an electric one) and eating latkes (potato pancakes) for Chanukah
    – Eating matzah (unleavened bread) for Passover

    I also make savoury pancakes for dinner on Shrove (pancake) Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

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