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New Glaswegians celebrate Chinese New Year

Lin Wu about to fry dumplings for Chinese New Year at the North End Rec Centre on Friday.
Lin Wu about to fry dumplings for Chinese New Year at the North End Rec Centre on Friday. - Fram Dinshaw

New Glaswegians gathered at the North End Recreation Centre Friday evening to celebrate the last night of the Chinese New Year.

Children and families enjoyed a chance to roll dough and cook Chinese dumplings aplenty, even if there was no fireworks display as happens in many cities back in China.

“It’s a family day,” said Lin Wu, as she rolled and kneaded more dough for another batch of dumplings.

As well as dumplings, people exchanged red envelopes containing chocolate coins. Real money is often used, including gifts of hundreds of dollars.

In traditional Chinese lore, gifts of money are said to ward off evil and are handed down to single young adults and children.

Dragon and Lion dances, lantern displays, floral decorations, honouring the old gods of fortune and springtime travel among families are also common ways of celebrating Chinese New Year.

“And of course [they] sample the food,” said Wendy Hughes, who co-chairs the Multicultural Association of Pictou County.

Also known as the Spring Festival in modern China, the two-week celebration is based on the lunar calendar.

The first day was on Feb. 16, marking the start of the Year of the Dog. The dog is the 11th of the 12-year animal cycle of animals making up the Chinese zodiac.

Wu herself was born in the Year of the Pig. People born in her year are said to be well-mannered, intelligent and artistic.

Each animal symbol has different character traits that people born in these respective years are said to possess.

“It’s important to educate the community about other cultures and when their holidays are and get them together,” said Hughes.

She said that people across Asia celebrate similar new year festivals based on the lunar calendar, in countries such as Korea and Vietnam.

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