If you attend a single event in Richmond, Chinese New Year is the one
For 15 days, Richmond is awash with celebrations. Alongside traditional lion and dragon dance performances, pop-up flower and gift markets sell beautiful floral arrangements and red-and-gold decorations, and the city’s Chinese restaurants offer mind-boggling feasts—we’re talking 10-12 courses in one sitting! Good thing Richmond has North America’s most authentic Chinese cuisine.
Where to Celebrate
Dining out is customary to celebrate special occasions, and Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) is arguably the most important of them all. Large, round tables at Richmond’s Chinese restaurants typically overflow this time of year with lively and elaborate feasts. Local favourites include Jade Seafood Restaurant, Sea Harbour Seafood, Fisherman’s Terrace, Continental Seafood Restaurant, Empire Seafood, and Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant. All offer banquet-style menus for large groups. Make reservations.
Richmond’s monasteries and temples also host events to celebrate, and guests are always welcome. Of particular interest is the International Buddhist Temple. Modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, few other places in Canada offer as magical a venue to celebrate Chinese New Year. For a Tibetan take on the festivities, head to the Thrangu Monastery, where prayers and meditation services are open to all.
The biggest celebration in the city is at Aberdeen Centre. The mall hosts a popular flower and gift market, live performances, and a Chinese New Year’s Eve countdown event that attracts many locals and visitors alike.
When is Chinese New Year
2022: February 1, Year of the Tiger
2023: January 22, Year of the Rabbit
2024: February 10, Year of the Dragon
MORE ABOUT CHINESE NEW YEAR
Also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the new lunar year based on the Chinese calendar and is a spirited celebration that lasts from the new moon through to the 15th day of the first Lunar calendar month. The lunar new year is celebrated in much of Asia, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
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. Yum.