“There are only a handful of city events that I look forward to each year,” says Samantha, WestHouse’s concierge, “but Chinese New Year is one of them.” Known for its vibrant and eclectic festivities, parade onlookers can expect an impressive firecracker ceremony, lion dances, and a host of food and craft vendors.
“Dumplings, dancing and LOT of color. What else do you need?” Samantha shares her advice on how to bring in the Year of the Dog.
“Traditionally, the holiday centers around the family. It’s an auspicious time to gather, honor ancestors and ward off evil spirits. The firecracker ceremony is a beautiful incarnation of that last ritual. The sounds of the firecrackers are meant to scare the bad spirits away. It’s a powerful moment to take part in.”
“Lion dancing is a major tradition in China, especially for the New Year. It takes incredible skill to learn how to navigate the costume, and there are usually at least two people inside each lion working together on the dance. If you get a chance to reward the performers, it’s pretty custom to tip them with a red envelope (red is considered a lucky color).”
“Go to the landmark Nom Wah Tea Parlor for a post-parade dumpling feast. Folklore says the more dumplings you eat, the more money you’ll make in the New Year. I take that as my opportunity to go all out with the dim-sum. I’m talking one of everything - from siu mai to pork buns. For extremely good soup dumplings, try Shanghai Asia Manor.”