Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year will fall on Sunday, January 22, 2023 and is the most important festival in China. 2023 is the year of the rabbit, which is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. According to astrologer, Jupiter Lai, 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope. Jupiter Lai states that the overall energy of the year of the rabbit is likely to be gentle and calm, with people looking for a more balanced life. The rabbit is historically known as the luckiest, gentlest and most tender of the twelve animals in the zodiac. Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days ending with a lantern festival on February 5, the full moon. The New Year celebration is centered around removing the bad and the old, and welcoming the new and the good. It’s a time to worship ancestors, exorcise evil spirits, and pray for good harvest. Before the celebration, it is customary to spring clean to get rid of bad luck.
I celebrated four Chinese New Years while living on Oahu, the year of the rooster, the dog, the boar, and the rat. Each year the festivities begin with the dance of the dragon at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel. There are family activities in Chinatown that include kung fu demonstrations, Chinese folk dancing, Lion dancing, and a parade to the Hawai’i state Capitol lawn. The food for the celebration always includes: spring rolls, dumplings and steamed fish for prosperity, noodles for long life, and rice cake for good luck. I always looked forward to the almond cookies as well. The festivities always end with a fireworks display.
Brand new money is given in red envelopes (red for prosperity) as gifts. The dollar amount can’t include or be divisible by the number four because the word four sounds like the word death in the Chinese language. Oranges are a common New Year’s gift as they signify wealth and fullness due to the roundness and gold color of the fruit.
There are several Chinese New Year celebrations in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. The party at Gallery place features Corgis dressed as dragons. Peking House, here in Cambridge celebrated the year of the Tiger by giving lucky red envelopes to customers.
Kate Emery General is a retired chef/restaurant owner that was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Kate loves her grandchildren, knitting and watercolor painting. Kate and her husband , Matt are longtime residents of Cambridge’s West End where they enjoy swimming and bicycling.