By Emily Wei, Lifestyle Columnist
One month down and just eleven more to go for 2023! I am sure that in the last issue you all read copious amounts of New Year’s columns, stories, and anecdotes, so I felt that in this month’s column, I would take some time to write about Lunar New Year! Despite Lunar/Chinese New Year originating in China, it is now a widely celebrated holiday, recognized by many cultures around the world. Being Chinese myself, this holiday holds a special place in my heart, so I am very happy to have the opportunity to share the traditions and meanings with you!
To start off, if there’s anything to know about Chinese New Year, it is that this year, 2023, is the year of the rabbit. There are 12 zodiac animals, each inhabiting a specific year in the cycle, so after 2023, it won’t be the year of the rabbit again until 2035! Other zodiac animals include; monkey, ox, horse, and many more. If you don’t know your birth year zodiac animal already, it might be fun to learn what it is with a simple Google search! You may be wondering why Lunar New Year is on a different day than our usual January 1st, and the answer is in the name of the holiday itself. China follows the lunar calendar whereas we follow the solar calendar in Canada, and therefore the date is different and changes each year but always falls between midJanuary to mid-February.
Similar to how turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are a traditional food for Christmas and Thanksgiving, there are multiple traditional Lunar New Year dinners. These meals can incorporate many foods with varying meanings for an abundant new year but some are; fish, chicken, and dumplings. Starting with fish, the Chinese word for “fish” is yú which has the same pronunciation as the word that symbolises prosperity and surplus. Chicken has a similar pronunciation to the word meaning “luck” and “prosperity” to bring good fortune into the new year. Lastly, dumplings might be considered one of the most traditional Chinese foods and is a staple at most new year dinners. They are meant to symbolise wealth as they are shaped like Chinese gold ingots and whoever is cooking them will often hide a coin in a few to bring good luck to whoever finds it.
There are many other food traditions for Lunar New Year, however, I will now describe a few non-edibles but equally as interesting traditions! The colours of the Chinese flag are red and yellow so it is not too much of a surprise that many wear red on this day. However, the reason for this colour choice is not actually in the flag but rather in the colour red symbolising luck. Speaking of red, it is tradition to give red envelopes containing money to children each new year, once again to represent good fortune for the upcoming year. You are guaranteed to hear the sounds of popping from fireworks/firecrackers at midnight on January 1st and this can also be said for Chinese New Year. With fireworks actually originating in Liuyang, China, the new years fireworks show in China at midnight are sure to drop a few jaws.
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