Who Can Take Advantage of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, the Year of Dog, is coming. It’s on February 16th this year. Some Canadian businesses have been planning to celebrate it with Chinese customers. However, there are many who want to but have no idea how to.
Here, by listing up the traditional activities Chinese usually do in Chinese New Year, we are going to give you some hints on how you can take advantages of them.
Overall, we can use four words to categorize traditional Chinese New Year activities. These four words are Cleaning, Shopping, Eating, & Gifting. Some of them are done before Chinese New Year, and some are done on the first 15 days of the New Year.
- Chinese New Year Eve Dinner – The most important activity to Chinese family in Chinese New Year is to reunite with the family in Chinese New Year Eve and have dinner together. Families either prepare the dinner at home or dine out in a fine dining by reserving in advance. If you are running a grocery store, wine store or restaurant, or if you are in food & beverage business, check if you can help them on their dinner tables. Catering services are welcomed too. Prepare a Chinese New Year menu for your customers. The must have foods include,
- Cakes，“年糕Nian Gao” in Chinese. “糕”is pronounced same as the word “高”, which means “better, and prosperous”. But nowadays, any cakes would be good when you decorate them with greeting words.
- Whole fish, “鱼 yu” in Chinese. “鱼”has the same pronunciation as “余“， which means “surplus and rich”. If you have seafood to offer, come up a Chinese New Year set.
- Dumpling, which has a shape of currency used in ancient China and means wealthy. If you don’t have it, no worries, try make something in the same shape.
- Mandarin oranges, “桔 ju” in Chinese, which is pronounced similar as “吉, which means luck. Prepare some fruits in your store as a gift to Chinese customers or kids will help you engage them.Shopping for snacks to treat families and friends who will visit their home during New Year. Snacks makers, bakery shops, or bulk foods retailers, here are your opportunities.
- Wearing new clothes and shoes on the Chinese New Year Day. – To Chinese, a new year means everything should be brand new. New clothes and shoes are a must, especially to kids. They usually would go for shopping one or two weeks before. And the most preferred color is scarlet. Apparels and footwear companies can have more products in SCARLET during the season. Lingerie stores may be more likely to use this tips as many Chinese believe that red underwear can keep the bad luck away.
- Haircut. – On one hand, a new look means good luck for a new year. On the other hand, Chinese usually don’t have their hairs cut in the first month of the Chinese New Year because they think it is a sign of bad luck to have a wealthy new year. Barbers or hair salons better run something special before CNY. But don’t do it after.
- Cleaning of the house 2-3 days before the New Year Day. – To greet a new year, Chinese family usually do detail cleaning before. If you are selling cleaning products, bundle your products to help them do work hassle free. If you do housekeeping services, let them know you can help.
- Decorating home. – Chinese are used to decorate their homes with couplets, plants and flowers. Flower shops will be very busy before Chinese New Year if you can offer them something specialized for Chinese New Year. Same as their wearings, flowers in scarlet or dark red are preferred. Also, plants which names have good meanings, like good fortune or wealth, are popular as well. Couplets are another popular decoration. If you are thinking of some free gift other than calendars or ref pockets, couplets will be a good choice. The background color must be scarlet too.
- Preparing fortune pockets (ya shui qian) for kids. – It’s said that the pocket money gifted to kids from parents or other family members can keep kids away from illness and other bad luck. Banks in China usually do parents favors by offering blank fortune pockets and brand new moneys to draw on counter or from ATMs. Surprise your Chinese customers by asking them if they need some for Chinese New Year.
- Celebration dinner for the close of a good business year treated by the employers. – After one year hard work, the employers would take the opportunity to thank their employees. A celebration dinner or an offsite trip is most likely to do before the Chinese New Year. Hotels, resorts, restaurants, and catering services, don’t forget to approach your corporate accounts.
Above are things usually done before Chinese New Year. When entering the Chinese New Year, the celebrate usually last for 15 days until the Lantern Festival. Traditional activities include,
- Catching up with families and close friends. – It’s a custom for people to catch up with relatives and close friends, either by visiting their homes or meeting up somewhere for a drink or dinner. It’s called 拜年 Bai Nian in Chinese. People usually would bring gifts like fruits or desserts. They would visit bakery， Café or restaurants.
- New Year Market and Lion dance. – A special open market, like a bazaar, usually would be organized. And a lion dance performance would be there for visitors. If you are a large retailer, I’d suggest you to invite a lion dance team to perform in your store on the New Year Day. Make an announcement in advance. Parents would love to bring their children there.
- Visiting temples and praying for the blessings of gods. – Believers on Buddha or Tao would visit temples for the blessing, especially on the first day or right after the CNY Eve dinner. Special events are also organized by the temples, like a grand mass or Bell Ringing. Taxi companies, Uber or Lyft, please think of something to give them a safe ride. There are several famous temples in the GTA and Vancouver area.
- A kick-off lunch treated by the employers. – On the first working day, the employers would invite all employees for a lunch and gift them a fortune pocket to encourage them work hard for the company in the New Year. It’s another opportunities that hospitality businesses can take with your corporate accounts.
- Reunion with the families again on the 15th day and close the celebration of the New Year. – It’s called Lantern Festival in China. People usually have dinner with family. It’s as important as the New Year Eve dinner. So, go to our New Year Eve dinner section to learn who can take advantages of it.
Overall, we can use four words to categorize traditional Chinese New Year activities. And lots of businesses can fit yourselves into them and find a chance to engage Chinese customers. These four words are Cleaning, Shopping, Eating, & Gifting.