Happy Lunar New Year!
Spring Festival (also known as the Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year), typically begins the evening before the first day of the New Year and ends on the 15th day of the first calendar month – according to the lunar calendar. It is a time to prepare for and celebrate the upcoming year. This year, I attended the Lunar New Year parade in New York City - which had no shortage of gorgeous and vibrantly-colored floats or delicious street foods. Learning about and celebrating other cultures has always been important to me, as I feel it enables one to better understand and connect with others. As a passionate networker, and food-enthusiast, I love nothing more than meeting new people, sharing experiences, and trying new cuisine. In honor of the Lunar New Year, here are 5 lucky traditions I learned more about this year and would like to share with you!
The New Year’s Eve meal is the most important dinner of the year and different foods have different meanings attached to them. For example:
Red and gold are lucky colors for the Chinese – they symbolize happiness, wealth, and prosperity. Many people dress in red and display red and gold signs at the entrance of their house or business to promote good fortune.
It is important to thoroughly clean your house before the New Year, but do not clean your house on New Year’s Day – as you could be cleaning out any good luck that is coming your way. In addition to physically cleaning, it is important to clean up other aspects of your life as well to ensure a fresh and successful New Year. This means paying off old debts, making amends with family and friends, and resolving any other outstanding issues you have.
Foods is not the only thing that has significant meaning attached to it. Certain plants and flowers are thought to bring luck to your life, too. Many people will flock to their local florist to purchase lucky plants to decorate their homes for the New Year. Some of the most popular plants purchased include:
5. Give Back:
It is tradition to give red envelopes filled with money to children or to unemployed adults. If you do not fall into either of the above categories, then you should be giving an envelope to someone to ensure good fortune comes your way. This exchange is called “Hóng Bāo” in Mandarin, pronounced like “hoong bow." While giving is thought to bring fortune your way, you do not want to ask for money during the New Year, as it can have the reverse effect.
It’s almost always more gratifying for me to give, than receive ;-)
Try it ~ You may be surprised how good it feels to give!