Vaughan is a diverse and dynamic community that is home to many cultures. This year February 10 marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, a celebration of the arrival of spring. This is an important celebration for millions of people around the world, especially those of East Asian cultures including Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. Read on to learn more about this special time of year and discover how you can join in the celebrations!
What is Lunar New Year?
The Lunar New Year falls on the second full moon after the winter solstice, which typically takes place in late January or early February. Lunar New Year is also known as Spring Festival, Chinese New Year, Tet for Vietnamese Canadians and Solnal for Korean Canadians. In the Chinese Zodiac (which assigns an animal to each year of a twelve-year cycle) the year 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, so you may notice lots of dragon decorations and images this year!
Lunar New Year traditions
The new year is a time for friends and family to gather and there are many special traditions associated with bringing good luck and fortune for loved ones. Members of the family who are married give red envelopes containing money – these are a form of blessing for the coming year and are given to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers.
Purchasing new clothing and shoes also symbolizes a new start. Many celebrants will select something red since red is thought of as an auspicious colour that brings good fortune. For ideas on where to shop in Vaughan, visit visitvaughan.ca/shop for a list that includes everything from boutiques to brand-name malls where you’ll be sure to find an outfit to start your Lunar New Year off on a lucky note!
Another important tradition is to clean your house thoroughly before the start of the new year. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes your home ready for good luck.
Now that the house is all clean, tradition calls for decorating with fresh flowers (orchids, narcissus, plum blossoms are all considered fortunate) and red posters with lucky greetings that are hung on doorways and walls. Try a local florist for some blooms to freshen up your space, like Flowers Just Because, Pine Valley Florist, or Buds in Bloom.
Lunar New Year cuisine
Gathering loved ones for a big feast is a major part of celebrating the new year. The types of food that are served each have a special significance. Dumplings look like money pouches and signify wealth and prosperity, as do spring rolls which resemble gold bars. Long noodles are meant to be eaten (don’t break them!) to symbolize a long life. Serving a whole fish means abundance. Sweets such as candy and fruit are also lucky and are given and received as gifts when visiting the homes of friends and family.
Are you hungry yet? Check out some of the finest in Asian cuisine in Vaughan at Peak Top Cuisine, Yokai Izakaya or Sparkly Japanese Thai, or for more ideas on where to dine check out visitvaughan.ca/dine.
Lunar New Year events in Vaughan
If you’re looking for special events to celebrate the new year, be sure to check out some of the events taking place in Vaughan:
Vaughan City Hall
2141 Major Mackenzie Dr.
February 4, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Of all the cultural festivals that are observed around the world, Lunar New Year is one of the most elaborate, colourful and important to the Asian community. In 2024, we recognize the Year of the Dragon, which symbolizes honour, luck and success.
This year’s event will include fun family-friendly entertainment, musical performances and a traditional lion dance.
200 Apple Mill Road Vaughan, ON
January 20, 10 a.m. – noon
Registration is required at the link above.
You will learn about some Chinese New Year traditions and the reason for eating various foods during the festival. In this interactive demonstration, you will make spring rolls & Chinese mochi together with the instructor.
Venu Event Space
2800 Highway 7
January 21, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Mayor Steven Del Duca and Members of Council are inviting you to celebrate the new year with them at the second annual Mayor and Council New Year’s Levee.
The New Year’s Levee is a time-honoured gathering steeped in a rich tradition of bringing the community together to celebrate the start of a new year and look ahead at what’s to come.
At this fun, family-friendly event there will be tons of activities to keep the kids busy while you mingle, with exciting entertainment and a complimentary breakfast, it’s sure to be a great morning!
While celebrating all things Lunar New Year in Vaughan, don’t forget to check out all the other fun winter activities the city has to offer! For more ideas, check out Winter in Vaughan!
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