Party like it’s 4717: Chinese New Year 2019, the Year of the Pig
This article was updated on January 7, 2019.
January 1 has come and gone, and chances are, you’re still holding on to your New Year’s resolutions, but what if I told you you can you rewind with a do-over? Because here’s your chance! Kind of. Get ready to party all over again because we’re going to celebrate Chinese (lunar) New Year on February 5 and party like it’s 4717!
The lunar New Year occurs every year on the new moon of the first lunar month and is a very important time for the Chinese and Asian communities. This day is celebrated with different traditions, such as giving loved ones “lucky money” in red envelopes, cleaning one’s home to signify “getting rid of the old and welcoming the new,” as well as celebrating with other colourful festivities. One boisterous tradition is the lion and dragon dance. Acrobatic performers wear papier-mâché costumes that resemble mythical creatures believed to scare away bad luck and bring good fortune. Be sure to check out some of the lion and dragon dance troupes as they parade through Montréal’s Chinatown, visiting stores whose offerings of vegetable greens, fruits and “lucky envelopes” are fed to these creatures in exchange for the hopes of a prosperous year ahead.
Some of the other traditions that surround Chinese New Year are of the tasty kind. The Chinese are superstitious, and this is reflected in the foods that are served for the New Year.
You may think the shapes of dumplings are arbitrary, but there is a meaning behind how these savory little delights are wrapped. Dumplings are made in the shape of gold and silver ingots and it’s said that the more dumplings you eat on New Year’s Day, the luckier you’ll be. So if you’re looking for a reason to load up on dumplings – in the auspicious name of fortune, check out some of my favorite Montréal dumpling shops, like Qing Hua Dumpling, Restaurant Yi Pin Xiang, Mei Restaurant, Mai Xiang Yuan, Restaurant Jiu Xiang Yuan and Harbin Dumplings. Also, check out some of the city’s best dim sum offerings if you’re feeling for more than just dumplings: Ruby Rouge, Tong Por and Chez Chine.
Another auspicious food eaten on New Year’s Day is fish. The pronunciation of fish in Chinese is a homonym for “abundance”, and this meal is considered to be lucky. Prepared in different ways, fish is always served with the head and tail on as it represents a “beginning and end.” Check out Chinatown’s Restaurant ChinaTown Kim Fung, Restaurant Keung Kee and Nouveau Maison Foo Lam for some of the freshest seafood around - their live tanks can attest to the quality of food that they serve.
Noodles are also a favorite food eaten on New Year’s Day. Noodles should never be cut, the longer the better. Long noodles represent longevity and the long and prosperous year you’ll have. There is nothing better then fresh noodles hand-pulled right before your very eyes. Be sure to visit Nouilles de Lan Zhou, NUDO and Restaurant Noodle Factory, where you can pick the style of noodles for your meal.
May the year of the pig bring you much health, wealth and happiness for a prosperous and fruitful new year! 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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