Friday night may have been the biggest blizzard to hit us this season, but that didn’t stop stop local residents from completing last minute shopping on 86th Street in preparation for the Chinese New Year, which kicked off this Sunday. Many of the stores that lined the commercial strip were displaying traditional items to properly bring in the Year of the Snake.
From lanterns to banners, it is impossible to walk by the area without noticing the assortment of red decorations. In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good fortune and joy, and one of the shop owners shared that all of the decorations are meant to bring good luck for neighbors.
The shopkeeper mentioned that Chinese New Year in America is a much more subdued event than in China, where the event is celebrated for 15 days. In America, the celebration is cut short since many cannot take the time off from work.
One of the popular items that are found in many of the stores are red envelopes with golden writing on them, which are packed with money and doled out to children. This, too, is meant to bring good luck – and, of course, a little bit of prosperity.
Decorations are not the only way to bring in the New Year. As it does for most holidays in most cultures, food plays a starring role.
A sales representative at Sun Hing Seafood and Meat Market (2502 86th Street) spoke of the traditional candy table, which is a large variety of candies that are displayed on a table for friends and family to enjoy. A popular candy that is eaten is called ‘Lucky Candies,’ which, you guessed it, are supposed to bring luck to the new year.
From decorations to food to traditions, it is clear that an important way to bring in the Chinese New Year is to be surrounded with as much luck as possible. And, for many, being spared the worst of Winter Storm Nemo’s wrath was a good start to a fortunate New Year.