Have you ever sat down to lunch with your colleagues and realized you were eating with a bunch of animals? In this case, a monkey, a rabbit , a dog , a horse, a rooster, two tigers, three dragons and a couple of pigs…or boars, as they insist on being called. It could happen. Especially if you are celebrating Chinese New Year at the Mandarin in Pickering.
Chinese New Year began on February 10. Unlike our North American New Year, which we celebrate the night before and usually recuperate the day of, the Chinese New Year celebrations last 15 days. It has become a tradition at MinCom New Choice Realty Ltd., Brokerage to celebrate by having lunch together at one of the local Chinese restaurants. Judy Stacee-Cleaver, Broker of Record explains:
“We are a pretty close-knit group and we enjoy each other’s company so we get together when we find a theme to have some fun. In the summer we do barbecues, in December there’s Christmas. Chinese New Year is another opportunity for us to get together and have some fun.”
Following the Lunar Calendar system, Chinese New Year is the granddaddy of Lunar New Years and dates back to before recorded history. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year 2013 is the Year of the Snake. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animals. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve. People born in the Year of the Snake are keen and cunning, quite intelligent and wise. They are great mediators and smart business people. Therefore, you should have good luck if you were born in the Year of the Snake. Not everyone is a believer but a lot of fun can be had checking out which animal you are, who you get along with and who you should perhaps spend less time with. The restaurant placemats make it relatively easy to figure it all out.
Chinese New Year is steeped in tradition. Wearing red is considered to represent prosperity, fortune, luck and happiness. The lantern is one of the most prominent symbols of the Chinese New Year. In fact, there is an entire festival known as the Chinese Lantern Festival celebrated on the 15th day.
Lighting firecrackers, exchanging gifts and eating special foods like dumplings all add to the festivities. Red envelopes with coins are presented symbolizing good luck and to ward off evil spirits.
Like most traditional holidays in any culture, there is always a lot of good food and possibly some over eating. Most of all there is a feeling of good will, with the hope that everyone will have a wonderful and prosperous 2013.
Kung Hei Fat Choy!