Lunar New Year (LNY), which takes place on February 12 this year, is a special time of year for our family and many families around the world. It is a fresh start as we welcome the New Year with health, wealth and prosperity. With the new year swiftly approaching, I wanted to share my top five ways to celebrate so that you can join in on the fun too!
1. Enjoy a New Year’s Eve family dinner
Lunar New Year is a time for families to come together to celebrate and wish each other good luck and prosperity. A reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve is an important tradition. In our family, we enjoy a large feast during this time with each dish carrying a symbolic meaning.
Fish is one of the most symbolic dishes for this meal, as the word fish in Chinese sounds like “surplus” (余). It is meant that we will have an abundance of wealth and food leftover to carry into the next year. A lucky phrase associated with having fish is “nyen nyen yo yoo” 年年有余 (may you always have more than you need)!
2. Make Tong Yuen (glutinous rice balls)
Another popular symbolic food we like to enjoy on LNY are the sweet, glutinous rice balls called tong yuen. In my language, Cantonese, it is similar to the word for “reunion” (團圓) – referring to families coming together for the holidays.
We love making this dessert as a family tradition for Lunar New Year. These sweet rice balls can be filled with red bean, taro or my personal favorite, black sesame!
Tong Yuen (glutinous rice balls) Ingredients:
Black Sesame Filling:
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 cups water
- 1 stick of brown sugar
- 4 slices of ginger
3. Go on a temple run – 10 to be exact!
New Year’s Day is pretty busy in our household as we not only take part in common festivities but also our very own annual temple run. We visit 10 temples around the city on this day to pray for blessings and good luck for the year ahead.
When dropping into our local temples, we will light incense and pick up tangerines that have lucky fortunes attached to them. Tangerines are common foods on LNY as they represent good luck since it’s pronunciation in Cantonese is “gat” which is the same sound for the word auspiciousness (吉).
4. Share the wealth
Red envelopes, known as Lai See in Cantonese, filled with lucky money are given out during the New Year as a way to send good wishes and luck to receivers.
My sister and I would be gifted with red envelopes from our parents on the morning of New Year’s day. When receiving them, we would offer a greeting to our parents for good luck. The most commonly used greeting on LNY is “gong hei fat choy” 恭喜發財, meaning wishing you prosperity and good fortune. Others phrases we would use are “sun tai geen hong” 身體健康 (wishing you good health), and “maan si yu yee” 萬事如意 (may you get everything you wish for).
5. Set the Tone
In the days leading up to Lunar New Year, we clean every corner of our home to wash away the bad luck from the past year. However, as soon as the first day of LNY comes around, all the cleaning comes to an end as we do not wish to sweep away the good fortunes for the coming year.
Brand new clothes are also worn on the first day of the New Year as it’s a tradition that symbolizes new beginnings and a fresh start. We usually wear red or any other bright-coloured clothes on New Year’s Day and avoid wearing any black or white as they are typically associated with mourning.
However you plan to celebrate Lunar New Year, from everyone at Flipp, we wish prosperity, good fortune, good health, and may you get everything you wish for.
Megan and Mandy are sisters and passionate foodies who enjoy sharing restaurant and brand recommendations! Follow along their food journey on Instagram!