BY SOPHIA HAN
A year of hope **
In 2023, the Lunar New Year starts on January 22nd. The Chinese zodiac sign for 2023 is the Water Rabbit. It is a symbol of peace, hope and longevity.
The Lunar New Year is the most important public holiday in China, but it is also celebrated in Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. Because Vancouver is home to many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year, you may be asked to join the celebrations at someone’s home.
Read on to learn about traditional gifts to bring your hosts on this special occasion.
Giving Lunar New Year gifts ***
Gift-giving is an important Lunar New Year tradition, but gifts vary depending on the age and the giver’s relationship to the recipient.
You may already know that children receive money in bright red packets called hongbao. If your host has children, it is fine to give them a small amount in a red packet, but the amount should be an even number. Except for the number 4 (which sounds like the word for death in Chinese), even numbers are considered lucky.
Many Asian bakeries at this time will sell boxes of traditional sweets like almond cookies, but it is also common to see gifts of chocolates wrapped to look like gold coins. Crispy egg rolls are sweet, flaky biscuits that are sold in large tins. They are considered lucky because they symbolize wealth.
Money trees and lucky bamboo plants are also popular and a basket of any citrus fruit is always welcome. All of these items symbolize prosperity. In fact, so long as your gift is lucky or auspicious, you can’t really go wrong.
Lunar New Year – a year that starts on the first full moon of the year
Chinese zodiac – 12 animals that represent a group of stars
longevity – long-life
occasion – an event
vary – things that vary can be different or change
relationship – the connection between people
recipient – the person receiving something
already – already can describe something that is true before the present time
except – not including
considered – thought to be
common – something that happens often
prosperity – wealth
auspicious – suggesting success