Happy Lunar New Year, everyone!
The Lunar New Year is widely celebrated across Asia with varying traditions. While it’s often known as Chinese New Year (CNY), many other cultures, including Korean, Filipino and Vietnamese, celebrate Lunar New Year too.
I recently learnt that Chinese people from Malaysia and Singapore have different traditions from than other places, even from different regions. For example, my favourite activity, Yee Sang, is not celebrated by my friends from Hong Kong or mainland China.
While I might not get to see a lion dance or firecrackers, or get a massive food haul while I’m studying abroad here, I am trying my best to follow my family’s footsteps in celebrating the festival in Toronto.
First: Cleaning. Cleaning means sweeping out bad luck before the new year begins. If you’ve had a tough time for the past 12 months, cleaning before CNY means a lot.
However, we also don’t throw out rubbish or sweep the floors during the first two days of CNY. Doing that means that you’re throwing out your good luck and fortune for the rest of the year. Of course, this only applies if you believe in it.
Lunar New Year also symbolizes reunion. Most people travel back home (in Malay, it’s called “balik kampung”) to reunite with their families, but this is also about reuniting with old friends. My dad usually has his secondary school friends around for CNY. Although they can quickly become annoying as the kids (including me) get interrogated about our lives, I like the gatherings because that means I get a lot of red packets. Yep, the money 😉
I’m also planning to visit a Buddhist temple sometime this weekend (if I can find one). Before the pandemic, my family would drive more than an hour to visit this huge CNY carnival happening at a Buddhist temple. It brings a lot of memories because this carnival is so popular that sometimes I would bump into my schoolmates.
While it’s also the busiest week so far for me at U of T, I’m hoping to spend my next 15 days well to kick-start a healthy and happy year. I’m also grateful that I’m able to spend some time with my friends to celebrate the festival, if only briefly. If you celebrate Lunar New Year, I hope you get a chance to take time for yourself as well.
I wish you a tiger year full of blessings, luck, and fortune! 恭喜发财 / Gong Hei Fat Choy / Gong Xi Fa Cai!