Happy Lunar New Year in Canada

January 23, 2012 | Debby

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Happy Lunar New Year

Today is the celebration of a new year in the Lunar Calendar. The Lunar calendar follows the phase of the lunar moon, and for those who follow the Lunar Calendar, today is the start of a brand-new year. According to the Chinese Zodiac of the twelve symbolic animals, 2012 is the year of the Dragon.

   Lunar New Year Lion DancingLunar New Year Lanterns and Celebration
   A lion dance in celebration of Lunar New Year
   [Photo Credit: www.guidingstar.ca and www.dailymail.co.uk]

Did you notice people around you wearing red today? The colour red is thought to bring good luck and fortune in the new year. This is the reason why you will see red pocket money being given away, red fire crackers, red signs with Chinese characters, and lots of red lanterns! You will also notice that some celebrations will include lion dancing - a combination of loud and explosive dance with dragon heads, beating drums, and kung-fu arts. Take a look at a lion dance from last year's Lunar New Year Festival:


Traditional "Good Luck" food for the Lunar New Year include a variety of items like sweet clementines, mandarins and oranges to symbolize luck and new beginnings. Also common are glutinous rice balls with sweet paste, dumplings, fish, noodles, and lots of sweet goodies to share with friends, family, and serve as offerings to the gods.

To learn more about Lunar New Year food, have a look at some of our books:

          Chinese feasts & festivals a cookbook by S.C. Moey  Wrap-n-bake egg rolls and other Chinese dishes by Nick Fauchald Complete Chinese Cookbook by Ken Hom  Ching's Chinese food in minutes by Ching-He Huang

Toronto Public Library has an amazing collection of Lunar New Year books to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, take a look:

   Chinese New Year festival of new beginnings by Terri Sievert Chinese New Year by Alice Flanagan Chinese New Year by Heather Hudak Chinese New Year by Carrie Gleason

Looking for more books on Lunar New Year celebrations? Have a look at our Library Catalogue!

There are also many different languages available in our libraries including books, audiovisual materials, and magazines. Look for books in our large collections of Chinese and Vietnamese materials.

Do you read Chinese magazines? Toronto Public Library also has Chinese e-magazines available for customers with a library card. Have a look at this great database from the comfort of your own home.

Chinese e-magazines at Toronto Public Library
Did you also know that the library has programs conducted in Chinese? Here is a list of programs and events including Cantonese bookclubs, workshops for newcomers, English-learning classes, and recreational programs.

Today is a celebration of all things new, red, and culturally symbolic of Asian culture.
Happy Lunar New Year, everyone!

                Lunar New Year FoodSesame balls for Lunar New Year
                   Traditional Lunar New Year food and delicious sweet glutinous rice sesame balls
                   [Photo Credit: ifood.tv and Dessert First blog]