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Happy Lunar New Year!

This year's Chinese New Year will be on January 22, officially starting off the Year of the Rabbit. I have a Rabbit daughter so I am especially excited, and wish for her an exceptional year. But what does Chinese New Year mean to the greater Chinese community?

In China, the holiday is typically celebrated by returning home to one's village, or taking a vacation and traveling with family. Children are gifted red envelopes with money - usually after they wish their elders, friends and neighbours New Year good wishes. Families gather to eat traditional holiday dishes which represent something you hope for in the New Year: whole fish for abundance; noodles for long life; whole chicken with head and feet to represent a good beginning and good end to the year; dumplings for good fortune; mandarin oranges to represent wealth; Chinese New Year Cake for promotion or higher position.

In my family, the eve of Chinese New Year is a gathering, and a big feast. Before Lunar New Year begins the house must be swept clean, everything put in place, one must repay all debts, have a hair cut. When the day of Lunar New Year arrives, whatever happens on that day is a harbinger for the whole year. My mother told me not to use knives or scissors, cook on the stove top, do anything dangerous so as not to have any chance to have an accident to bring bad fortune for the year.

Wishing you and your family and friends a prosperous, abundant and happy year of the Rabbit.

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