Lunar New Year Celebrations

What has been a year of uncertainty has also been a time of reflection and growth. As we recognize Lunar New Year, we look to our Trope photographers to share their traditions and images of celebration.

Candy Lai @flosslai

How is this Lunar New Year celebration different than in year's past?

Lunar New Year will definitely be quieter this year for heightened safety precautions. The season is all about big family gatherings, but we are still contemplating on how to go on about it this year. 

Another big change this year is that it will be mine and Varun’s first year handing out red packets! Red packets (or as we call it, lai sees, in Cantonese) are red envelopes containing cash that married couples for the most part, will give out to unmarried friends, families and co-workers during the whole LNY season. Living in Hong Kong, there’s no escape. It’s a new tradition for us and we are very much looking forward to it and already getting ourselves fully prepared with the "ammo."

How will you be celebrating this year?

Either family gathering, if that is still happening. Or, literally just taking it easy at home. This year, the 3rd day of Lunar New Year overlaps Valentine’s Day too. There's a taboo that people usually stay at home on the 3rd day to avoid quarrels. So even though we don't really celebrate Valentine’s Day as a couple, we'll probably take this day to plan a nice meal at home.

Some other traditions still remain, such as “spring cleaning” to clear out the old and bring in the new. Living in Hong Kong, I am also surrounded by all the red and gold LNY decorations, as well as special LNY food such as nin gou - a sweet glutinous rice cake which I love eating.

What is your favorite part of the celebration?

I love seeing all the bright red colours and decorations everywhere. Much like Christmas time, it feels very festive here when it comes to LNY in HK. It’s also a great time to meet up with family.

The end of the lunar year prompts us to pause and reflect, and 2021 is the Year of the Ox. How do you feel entering this new lunar year and are you ready to embrace the year of the Ox, an animal that symbolises strength and determination?

I am most definitely ready to embrace the new year with new challenges. This is the time of the year to share blessings to everyone, and I wish everyone good health, prosperity and all the happiness through the year. May our strength remain with us throughout the Year of the Ox!

Irwin Chan @irwinsychan

How is this Lunar New Year celebration different than in year's past?

Lunar New Year has always been different for me, being away from home and family. We usually celebrate by going to the homes of different family members. We call it "拜年“ - a way to welcome the new year and catch up with loved ones. There are games for us to play, notable mahjong, and a huge feast to celebrate the new year. Since I've moved to the UK, it usually is spent with a few friends, either eating out or at somebody's house. It's not quite the same, though the atmosphere and celebrations are always there. Always a time to celebrate and catch up with loved ones!

How will you be celebrating this year?

As the UK is currently on lockdown, I'll be spending it at home with my flatmates, enjoying a nice home cooked Chinese meal instead. We're planning quite a feast, and my flatmate is planning to make pineapple tarts (a LNY specialty!), quite looking forward to it!

What is your favorite part of the celebration?

My favourite part of the celebration is being able to catch up with family members, and definitely the games too. Every year, there is quite spectacular fireworks display in Hong Kong, with other events planned around the city during the days leading and during Lunar New Year. The bonus of course, is we get red packets that contain money - favourite part for many people I'm sure!

The end of the lunar year prompts us to pause and reflect, and 2021 is the Year of the Ox. How do you feel entering this new lunar year and are you ready to embrace the year of the Ox, an animal that symbolises strength and determination?

I think the Ox, being a symbol of strength and determination, is as important as ever - especially during these past two years. I'm entering the new year in high spirits, we can only do our best with what we got. Focus on the present, worry less about the future - we all know quite well that the future is highly unpredictable. Working on ourselves and focussing on our passions, that's the most important in my opinion. We can never fully help others if we don't help ourselves first, prioritising will enable us to be better people.