Party like it's 4716 - Celebrating the Year of the Dog
Did you start the year off on the wrong foot? What if you could hit reset on your resolutions without waiting out the year? Well, put on your dancing shoes, because Montréalers are going to celebrate the Lunar New Year—aka Chinese New Year—on February 16. And we’re going to party like it’s 4716!
The Lunar New Year occurs on the new moon of the first lunar month, and it’s a very important occasion for the Asian community. The day is celebrated with different traditions, such as giving loved ones “lucky money” in red envelopes, cleaning your home to get rid of the old and welcome the new, and celebrating with colourful festivities.
One boisterous tradition is the lion and dragon dance. Acrobatic performers wear papier-mâché costumes that resemble mythical creatures in a bid to scare away bad luck and attract good fortune. Catch the lion and dragon dance troupes as they parade through Montréal’s Chinatown on the weekend of February 16. The beasts will go visiting store-to-store, as merchants offer them vegetable greens, fruits and “lucky envelopes” in exchange for a prosperous year ahead.
Rest assured that some of the other traditions surrounding Chinese New Year are the kind you can eat! Chinese people are superstitious and this is reflected in the types of food served on New Year’s Day.
Most people would assume that the shapes of dumplings are arbitrary, but there’s meaning behind the wrapping. These savory little delights are made to look like gold and silver ingots, and it’s said that the more dumplings you eat at New Year’s, the luckier you’ll be. So go ahead and indulge in the name of good fortune! Montréal’s top dumpling shops include Qing Hua, Yi Pin Xiang, Mei, Mai Xiang Yuan and Harbin Dumpling.
Another auspicious food eaten at New Year’s is fish. In Mandarin, the word “fish” is a homonym for “abundance,” making this a lucky dish. Prepared in different ways, fish is always served with the head and tail on to represent a beginning and an end. Maison Kim Fung, Keung Kee and Dynastie serve some of the freshest seafood around—their live tanks prove it!
Noodles are also a favorite food eaten during New Year’s feasts. Noodles should never be cut; the longer the better. Long noodles represent longevity, and the long and prosperous year that lies ahead. There’s nothing better than fresh noodles hand-pulled right before your very eyes! Be sure to visit Lan Zhou noodles, Nudo and M Trois, where you can choose the style of noodles for your meal.
Get into the Lunar New Year spirit early and catch the 2018 Chinese New Year Gala at Théàtre Maisoneuve. From February 3 to 4, the Troupe artistique Phoenix (Huayun) de Montréal will celebrate Chinese New Year with a number of performances such as classical and folk dances, singing, acrobatics, folk music, Peking Opera and Kung Fu performed by over 100 artists! Ticket information is available here.
May the Year of the Dog bring you health, wealth and happiness! Gung Hei Fat Choy!
Jason Lee, blogger
Jason is a food eater and picture taker. As the blogger behind Shut Up and Eat, he covers everything food, from recipes to reviews. Jason has vowed that he will not stop until he has officially eaten his way across Montréal. It’s a big claim, and it’s one he’s making.
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