Happy Lunar New Year everyone! We wish you a year of intelligence, health and good fortune! According to the Chinese zodiac cycle, 2020 is the year of the rat, the first of all the zodiac animals, symbolizing vitality, sagacity, and stability. It is believed that rats (born in 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, or 2008) will receive exceptionally good fortune this year.
Do you have any celebratory plans for the new year? If not, we’ve got you covered. Here are some ways to honour the start of the new calendar.
Visit a Market
The Chinese New Year shopping season is comparable to the North American Christmas shopping frenzy. Enjoy the decor and energy surrounding malls and markets as you shop for the season! Temple Fairs are similar to elaborate North American/European Christmas Markets, with a cultural twist. Experience lion dances, incense rituals and of course, shopping. Not sure what to buy? Here are a few ideas.
- Celebrations require lavish meals, make sure you grab enough ingredients to serve all your family and friends!
- It is traditional for adults to provide youth with monetary gifts for the holiday (ranging from small coins to large amounts). Money is traditionally gifted in red envelopes, called hongbao, to encourage good fortune and prosperity upon the receiver.
- Buy RED decor, clothing and gifts. Not only does red represent good fortune and wealth, but it is believed to ward off Nian – a lionesque monster who fears the bright colour.
Watch a Parade or Fireworks Show
Ring in the new year with plenty of festivities including the Lam Tsuen well-wishing festival, the four day carnival at West Kowloon Cultural District Art Park, and the annual lion dance parade at Pacific Palace. If you are unable to attend such shows in China itself, the celebrations continue in many locations around the world including:
- Chinese New Year parades and festivals in San Fransisco
- Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival in British Columbia
- Lunar New Year Parade in New York
Visit a Temple
Worship at a Buddhist temple is considered to be a very important tradition on the first day of the new year. Doing so is said to bring good fortune for the upcoming year. Some of the most popular temples to visit include:
- The Hongluo temple
- Lama temple
- Dongyue Temple
Many places outside of Asia such as British Columbia and Plum Village (France) have temples to visit and offer similar experiences to those in China.
Finalize the New Year by Visiting the Lantern Festival
On the 15th and final day of the Chinese New Year holiday, people across China light and appreciate the beauty of lanterns. The main 2020 festivities will take place on February 8, but most festivals last for many days. The Qinhai International Lantern Festival in Nanjing, Shanghai Yuyuan Lantern Festival in Shanghai, and Guangzhou Yuexiu Park Lantern Fair in Guangzhou are popular locations to visit.
Additional lantern festivals exist across the globe for those who are not celebrating in China. Examples include:
- Kek Lok Si Display of Lights in Malaysia
- Magical Lantern Festival in London
- Lunar Festival in Sydney
Reconnect with Family and Friends
Celebrations aren’t complete without loved ones! The Chinese New Year accounts for the largest rates of human migration each year. In traditional celebrations, not only do people connect with their living relatives, but many engage in ancestral worship rituals as well!
Thinking about travelling for the holiday? Ensure that you are connected with all your friends and family by purchasing suitable data plans. With prices starting at as low as $3.99, it’s easy to stay connected!