Although I've lived in Vancouver my entire life, Chinese traditions were a significant part of home life growing up. My parents were super strict; I wasn’t allowed to speak English at home - only Cantonese. While that felt unpleasant as a kid at the time, I thank my parents now. To this day, I can still read and understand a fair bit of Chinese - which really helps when it comes to things like preparing the house for Lunar New Year.
Lunar New Year - like that of the Western calendar - is all about a clean slate; like spring cleaning. This year, we celebrate the Year of the Dog on Friday, February 16th. It’s a huge celebration that takes place not only in China but all over the world. Celebrations can run beyond two weeks - it’s nuts - but also a lot of fun. From colourful parades with lion dances to lighting firecrackers and fireworks, millions of people - of all colours and creeds - gather to partake in this popular celebration. Chinese families visit their loved ones - including friends - and gather together for a special dinner on New Year’s Eve and they tidy their houses before New Year’s Day to sweep away the bad fortune.
As I am no stranger to this big holiday, there are a number of things I love to do in preparation for the big day.
As you know, I’m huge into interior design and décor and Lunar New Year is no exception. That said, I usually opt for something tasteful and simple to show that our household is celebrating. I like placing a New Year greeting on the front of the house, right on the door. These greetings are usually found in little stores around Chinatown and can even be found at some Dollar Stores. The one I’ve selected for this coming New Year is 萬事如意 (pronounced man-see-yu-yee in Cantonese) which literally means ’10,000 Things According To Your Will,’ which basically means that everything will go according to how you want it to. That’s pretty powerful when you think about it. Maybe I should keep it on my door all year!
Like any festival, food plays a central role and Lunar New Year is no exception. The humble dumpling takes centre stage during this festive season and you’ll often see dozens of these delicious morsels being served at all Chinese restaurants and in many homes celebrating Lunar New Year.
They’re super easy to make - you can just buy them frozen from the grocery store. Throw a dozen in boiling water for 3 minutes, then pan fry them to a crisp. They make the perfect lunch - or dinner!
Buying New Things
It’s customary for people to exchange gifts, candies and cakes - and especially those ubiquitous red envelopes that are filled with cash. Those tend to be given to kids and people who aren’t yet married.
In terms of gifts, I wanted to get something new for Keith and my two boys. I headed to Roots as Keith is American and so he hasn’t yet amassed a collection of the iconic Canadian brand like I have. I went to the Roots Cabin in Cadillac Fairview’s Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver, my favourite place to shop. And why wouldn’t it be - it’s got the largest selection of shops including some of my favourites - Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, Club Monaco, Ted Baker, Aritzia and of course, Roots!
There was such a great selection at Roots it was tough to narrow down what I wanted to get them. I ended up with a classic pair of Roots sweatpants and socks for Keith and long sleeve tops for both the boys. I’m obsessed with pom pom knit hats - I already own two Roots toques - and added a third to my closet from their new Canadian collection that’s made in Canada.
Celebrating Lunar New Year - With a Contest - With a $500 Roots Gift Card
Since Lunar New Year is also about gifts, I have partnered with Cadillac Fairview Pacific Centre to give away a $500 Roots Gift Card. Come join me on Saturday, February 17th between 3:30 pm and 5 pm at Pacific Centre as I’ll be on site celebrating and taking part in the festivities. If you’re able to track me down and say ‘hello’, you’ll get double the entries. If you’re not in Vancouver or can’t make it down that day, you can still enter; but the more things you do, the more bonus entries you get!
Here are the rules:
- Find any one of the photos featured on this blog post on my Instagram feed and ‘like’ it and tag 2 friends. = 1 entry.
- Follow me and @cfpacificcentre on Instagram = bonus entry.
- Comment on my Instagram Stories on Feb 17th = bonus entry.
- Come join me on Feb 17th between 3:30 pm to 5 pm at Pacific Centre, track me down and say ‘hello’ = double the total entries.
Contest is open to Canadian residents only and closes at midnight on February 17th. Good luck!