Celebrating Lunar New Year: Traditions, Outfits, & Gift Ideas

Chinese New Year V2

With Lunar New Year just around the corner, I’ve teamed up with CF Markville Mall to share some of my favourite ways to celebrate, as well as my personal connection to the holiday! As a second generation Chinese-Canadian (born and raised in Canada by my English-speaking parents), I was never fully immersed in Chinese culture growing up. Unlike most of the other Chinese kids I knew, I never learned to speak or write Chinese, and definitely identified as “Canadian” more than anything else.

Despite this, I could always count on my grandmother to keep some Chinese traditions alive for our family – Lunar New Year included. This was one time in the year where I felt truly connected to my Chinese culture: happily dressing up in red, having dinner with family, and exchanging lucky red pockets and candies. Lunar New Year marks the beginning of spring for many in various Asian cultures, and is all about bringing good luck and good fortune for the coming year. The multi-day long festival is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, and will begin this year on February 16th – the Year of the Dog.

My Lunar New Year Traditions

To celebrate, my family usually gets together on Lunar New Year’s Eve at my grandmother’s house for a traditional home cooked meal. This typically includes fish and dumplings, which signify prosperity. My grandma happens to be quite a superstitious lady, and I’ve adopted these Lunar New Year traditions over the years from her:

  • Wear red and gold to symbolize good fortune
  • Don’t sweep, clean or wash your hair on New Years Day, or you’ll sweep and wash away your good luck and fortune for the year!
  • Mandarin oranges are a food that brings good fortune – having the stem and leaves attached also represents long life

Lucky red pockets containing money are also given during Lunar New Year, typically from adults and married couples to the children in the family.

What I’m Wearing for Lunar New Year

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Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

As I mentioned, red is a colour that symbolizes good luck in Chinese culture. Wearing a new outfit is also a popular tradition, as it represents the start of a new year (and a great excuse to go shopping!). I headed to CF Markville Mall to pick up a new lucky red outfit, and stumbled on this gorgeous dress from Zara.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I’m actually not one to have a lot of bright red in my wardrobe (despite its popularity in fashion as of late) and opted for a darker burgundy shade for my outfit. I love the pretty ruffle details, as well as the touch of gold in the embroidered flowers – a colour that’s also considered to bring good luck.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

To add a pop of true red, I used a bright red polish and matte red lippie to finish the look.

My Lunar New Year Outfit and Gift Guide

Lunar New Year Gift Guide

  1. Aritzia Vivienne Dress in Lillooet

I love the simplicity of this little slip dress, and the bright, crimson colour. Pair it with a leather moto jacket, or over a t-shirt for an effortlessly cool vibe.

  1. Forever 21 Beaded Tassel Drop Earrings

These earrings definitely make a statement and are an easy way to instantly dress up any look. I love that the red tassels almost mimic the look of the decorative tassels on traditional Chinese lanterns.

  1. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso

My all-time favourite red lippie, which I’m wearing it in the photos above. It’s a bold, flattering shade of red that works well on any skin tone – and the cool undertone makes teeth look super white.

  1. Essie Nail Polish in Ole Caliente

This is the nail polish equivalent to the lipstick above – a bold and flattering true red. I don’t usually rock a red polish, but when I do, it’s this one! Make sure to finish with a topcoat for a chip-free shine.

  1. Pandora Chinese New Year Charms

Pandora has released an entire collection in celebration of Lunar New Year, which includes these adorable Lantern, Ingot, and Lion Dance charms. I’m obsessed!

  1. Aldo Stessy Gold Pumps

I love the almost mirrored finish of these super-reflective gold heels! The pretty metallic hue is the perfect way to add a prosperous pop to your Lunar New Year look (or to any outfit!).

MRK_Decor_3

If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate (or you’re inspired to shop for any of these items), CF Markville will be holding a Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, February 17th that will include exciting performances, live music, and a traditional lion dance!

I’m also holding a giveaway on my Instagram to help you celebrate – head to my page to enter for your chance to win a $500 Roots gift card + three Pandora charms! I’ll be at the mall on the 17th checking out all the festivities myself. Happy Lunar New Year and hope to see you there!

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