Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is a time to “honor household and heavenly deities, as well as ancestors” . The holiday brings everyone together, with family members often sharing a great meal around the table.
For instance, Wing Li, owner of YoYo, says the holiday is all about food for his family. Every year, they prepare a wide variety of special dishes, including roasted pig. Tae Sup Chang, originally from South Korea and owner of Hwa Won, performs a small ceremony to honor his ancestors. Afterwards, everyone savours the food they prepared. For Candy Chow, co-owner of Nyonya Malaysia Restaurant, it was common to stop by a family member’s house to wish them Happy New Year. Growing up, her family would later go out for dim sum.
This year the day falls on Thursday, February 19. In Amsterdam, there are a variety of ways to celebrate. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Nieuwmarkt and Zeedijk neighbourhoods, close to Centraal Station, will be buzzing with activity. Local shops will also be open, perfect for perusing. Below are some other activities:
Wednesday, February 18
On New Year’s Eve, Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple will host a blessing ceremony at 22:30.
Thursday, February 19
The temple will host another blessing ceremony at 11:00 on New Year’s Day. Later, from three o’clock in the afternoon until six o’clock at De Bijenkorf, a department store situated on Dam Square, customers can watch traditional lion and dragon dances. The store also provides the opportunity to have your name printed in calligraphy on rice paper.
Friday, February 20
The city of Amsterdam’s official celebrations will start on Dam Square with fireworks at 19:20, followed by traditional lion and dragon dances.
Saturday, February 21
Watch the procession of traditional lion dances, which starts at 12:00 noon at the Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple.
While you are in the area, grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants featured in my book. Reservations are recommended.
What they are known for: Tibetan specialties
Lange Niezel 24
1012 GT Amsterdam
Nyonya Malaysia Restaurant
What they are known for: Malaysian kitchen
1012 CW Amsterdam
What they are known for: Korean food, especially Korean BBQ
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 67
1012 EK Amsterdam
What they are known for: Upscale Asian cuisine
Prins Hendrikkade 106a
1011 AJ Amsterdam
Wherever you are in the world and however you decide to celebrate, may 2015, the Year of the Goat, bring you happiness and good fortune!