Embracing the Spirit of Renewal: A Guide to Prepare for Chinese New Year

Embracing the Spirit of Renewal: A Guide to Prepare for Chinese New Year

As the Lunar New Year approaches, it's time to immerse ourselves in the richness of Chinese culture and prepare for the joyous celebration that marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle. At Mi BOWL, we not only want to provide you, our lovely customers, with delicious Asian-fusion ready-to-eat meals, but we also strive to foster a deeper understanding of the cultural traditions that make us unique as Chinese-Canadians. Just like we rang in the new Gregorian year a few weeks ago with our friends and family, on February 10th, we’ll do this once again to celebrate Chinese new year. Join us in embracing the spirit of renewal as we guide you through the essential preparations for Chinese New Year.

Cleaning the House

Growing up, we remember our parents frantically cleaning every crevice of our homes leading up to the new year. A thorough cleaning of your home symbolizes sweeping away any lingering negativity and making room for good fortune in the upcoming year. Relating this concept to life more broadly, are there things in your life - possessions, people, habits - that are no longer serving you? This process can also include reflecting and shedding in these areas to create a fresh and inviting space for new things, people, and habits, for the new year. 

Decorating the Home

After the cleaning process, your canvas is set up for the new year, which leads to the next preparatory area: decorations! How do you want to fill your life going forward? Many Chinese families decorate their homes with red decorations (it’s no secret that red is auspicious) believed to bring luck and prosperity. Consider incorporating red lanterns, banners, and symbolic Chinese characters to set a festive atmosphere. Your decorations may also include fresh flowers and plants to symbolize growth, prosperity, and good fortune. Popular choices include plum blossoms, orchids, and pussy willows. 

Dressing for Success

Once your home is set up for the upcoming new year, spend some time dressing yourself up. In Chinese tradition, people often purchase new clothes for themselves and loved ones as it signifies positive energy and is believed to bring good luck for the coming year. If you can (and your skin-tone supports it), opt for red clothing. Red embodies joy and celebration, enhancing the festive spirit. It’s also, according to psychological studies, the colour of power. Why not empower yourself this new year with a new red suit or sweater? 

Feasting with Loved Ones

Our favourite childhood memories of Chinese New Year almost always involve the deliciousness of the family dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year. Our parents would painstakingly go through the meaning of every single dish on the table before allowing us to dig in, which we now appreciate in our adulthood. Understanding the context of each dish helps us understand why it’s important to our heritage and culture. For example, there was always a steamed fish dish that signifies abundance, dumplings for wealth because they resemble the gold ingots, and longevity noodles for a long and prosperous life. 

In our adulthood, we now not only look forward to the abundant Chinese meals and feast but the broader tradition of connecting with family and loved ones. We also look forward to sharing our customs and food with friends from different backgrounds, which we find a very meaningful exercise given how diverse Toronto is.  

Gifting and Receiving Good Fortune

Ok we change our mind about family dinner being the most memorable aspect of Chinese New Year as children. Receiving Hong Bao or “red pockets” was definitely the highlight. Who can blame us for being drawn to those bright red pockets filled with money that would come our way after we greeted our aunties and uncles with best wishes for luck and prosperity? If you’re not familiar with this concept, red pockets are customarily given by married people to unmarried people as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. 

Nowadays, people are more open about who gives and receives red pockets, especially people in the Chinese diaspora. However, every family may have their own practices and ways they pass this tradition on to their children and younger generations. If you’re feeling festive, you can get a few red pockets and share them with friends and family to spread positive energy, fortune, and prosperity! Even $5 in a red pocket can make someone’s day. Alternatively, you can also consider gifting other items that symbolize good luck, health, or happiness like oranges, pomelo, or a jade plant. 

Participate in Cultural Activities

Lastly, get ready for cultural activities to celebrate the new year! During the lunar new year, dragon and lion dances are very common. If possible, you can plan to attend a dragon or lion dance performance to bring luck and drive away negative energy. Reflective of the large proportion of Chinese people who practice buddhism, it is also customary to visit temples during this time of year. Partaking in traditional prayers and rituals is believed to bring a blessed year ahead.

As we approach Chinese New Year, let's come together to celebrate the vibrant customs and traditions that make this cultural event so significant. Whether you're cleaning your home, enjoying a festive meal, or sharing red envelopes, remember that each tradition carries deep symbolic meaning. While we’re still two weeks away from this special day, everyone at Mi BOWL wishes you a joyous and prosperous Chinese New Year filled with good fortune, happiness, and the warmth of cultural traditions. Embrace the spirit of renewal, and may the Year of the Dragon bring you and your loved ones abundance and success. 

Check out our limited time promotion! Until the end of February, when you refer a friend to try our delicious Chinese meals, your friend will receive $20 off their purchase and you’ll also receive $20 off your next purchase with us too! 

Gong Xi Fa Cai! 

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