Chinese New Year in Richmond, BC
Chinese New Year falls on February 16, 2018, and promises to be full of food, flowers, and fun. Make plans to celebrate the Year of the Dog in Richmond, BC!
What is Chinese New Year?
Also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is considered the beginning of spring and is a spirited 15-day celebration that lasts from the new moon through to the Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year is celebrated in many parts of Asia, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia; as well as here in Richmond, BC, where approximately 50% of the population is of Chinese descent.
According to legend, New Year celebrations originated in ancient times, when a monster named "Nian" would terrorize villagers and destroy crops. The villagers discovered the monster could be scared off by loud noises and the colour red. They created a model of the monster from bamboo and paper, with two men inside to scare off "Nian." On New Year's Eve, the villagers set off firecrackers, beat drums and cymbals, and performed a dance with the model they created, successfully chasing away the monster.
This carried on annually, with a lion and/or dragon dance being performed on Chinese New Year, red lanterns and decorations filling the streets, and loud drum and cymbal performances. This holiday is an important time for families and friends to gather together and celebrate with large feasts.
What to Eat
While Western New Year's Eve celebrations may be synonymous with champagne, on Chinese New Year's Eve the focus is on the food - and lots of it. Traditionally, families gather on Lunar New Year's Eve for a reunion dinner. It is the most important meal of the year! Noodles are eaten for long life; dumplings, shaped like ancient Chinese money, represent wealth and prosperity; spring rolls, a traditional food of the Spring Festival, are said to look like gold bars; lettuce wraps are eaten because they play on the Chinese word for "fortune" which is also the word for "lettuce;" and large, golden fruits like tangerines, oranges, and pomelos symbolize fullness and wealth.
With over 400 Asian restaurants, Richmond has a well-earned reputation for having the best Chinese cuisine outside of Asia. During Chinese New Year, round tables at Chinese restaurants will overflow with elaborate feasts consisting of 10 - 12 courses.
Visitors are encouraged to book early and make reservations in order to take in the best of this foodie celebration! Richmond, BC restaurants such as Jade Seafood Restaurant, Sea Harbour Seafood, Fisherman's Terrace, Suhang Restaurant, Continental Seafood Restaurant, Shiang Garden, and Chef Tony offer banquet-style menus for large groups. Looking for even more foodie ideas? Head out on a self-guided tour of Richmond's Dumpling Trail!
Chinese New Year Events
Leading up to Chinese New Year, you can browse through flower and gift fairs for colourful flower arrangements and unique red and gold decorations; enjoy traditional lion and dragon dance performances; and ring in the New Year at a beautiful temple modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing. Check out the Chinese New Year events happening in Richmond below, and click on an event listing to learn more! You can also learn more about Lunar New Year celebrations taking place in Richmond and Vancouver by clicking here.