Many people across Calgary joined to celebrate the Lunar New Year, on Feb. 16.
The Lunar calendar follows the 12-year zodiac cycle with 2018 being the Year of the Dog.
People born in the Year of the Dog are believed to be conservative and loyal.
Depending on your culture, tradition and celebrations may be slightly different.
“In Chinese culture, red is believed to be the color of wealth, happiness, luck, and joy, so we wear red to start the New Year,” said Alice Chan who is a Chinese-Canadian living in Calgary.
“It is tradition for people who are married, or elders, to put money into red envelopes and give them to children and unmarried young individuals as a symbol of good luck for the New Year.”
Chan explains that certain numbers should be avoided when giving out red envelopes.
“Avoid anything with the number 4 because the pronunciation of the number 4 is similar to the word death in dialects across China. But the number 8 is a lucky number.
“In preparation for the New Year, many will pay respects to their ancestors at temples, clean the house, and prepare for the many feasts that happen,” said Chan.
Angela Kim, who is a Korean-Canadian, explained that Korean traditions are quite similar to those observed by the Chinese.
“During Seollal, Koreans dress in their Hanbok, which is traditional Korean wear, and we start the day by having rice cake soup as a symbol of a new beginnings,” said Kim.
“In Korean culture, we pay our respects to elders by taking a deep bow called sebae.
“Then the elders offer their blessings and wishes for a prosperous year, and children and young unmarried people receive sebaetdon, which is New Year’s money.
“Some families will also set up a family alta,r prepared with many traditional New Year’s day foods and fruits to pay respects to their ancestors and invite them to join the meal,” said Kim.
“It’s all about spending time with family and good food.”
David Luong who is a Vietnamese-Canadian explains the traditions are quite similar in his homeland.
“Some people dress in Ao Dai, which is traditional Vietnamese wear, and celebrate by spending time with family and having a big feast,” said Luong.
Luong explains that, just as in Chinese culture, red and gold are prominent symbols of wealth, good fortune, and happiness to Vietnamese.
“Many families will go to the temple or set up a family altar at home to pay respects to their ancestors amid the New Year,” said Luong.
“Also similarly to Chinese culture, we all give our Tết greetings to our elders before children and unmarried people receive lucky money.”
It’s all about spending time with family and good food. – Angela Kim
While, the traditions and celebrations may vary slightly, family time, feasting, and sharing wealth and prosperity are common to the many diverse cultures.
If you would like to participate in the celebrations, check out the Chinese New Year celebrations hosted by the Chinese Cultural Centre.