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Lunar New Year should be on your radar in February


While many retailers are ramping up for Valentine's Day, there's another holiday worth celebrating in stores, especially if your customers are Asian.

Lunar New Year is definitely a bigger event than Valentine's Day, said Paul Ho, marketing manager at T&T Supermarket.

Falling on Feb. 10 this year, Lunar New Year is celebrated by Chinese consumers as well as many others of East Asian and South Asian descent, including Koreans, Vietnamese and Mongolians.

For many, Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday on the calendar. Each year is symbolized by a different animal, with the start of 2013 marking the "Year of the Snake."

The holiday is celebrated with great community festivities, gathering of families and feasts. Common foods eaten during this time include: rice cake soup (Korea); abalone, fish maw, dried scallops, dried sea cucumber, pineapple tarts and mandarin oranges (China); steamed mung bean and pork inside banana-leaf-wrapped sticky rice (Vietnam).

In Korea, Lunar New Year is referred to as ''Seollal" and families visit one another, paying respects to their elders. Games and food are part of the festivities.

In China, the holiday is one of the most important and longest. It runs 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival. Married couples will hand out red-coloured envelopes (Cantonese: lai sze or lai see; Mandarin: hong bao; Teochew: ang bao) to the elderly or unmarried juniors. These envelopes often contain money.

Check out these Lunar New Year displays at T&T Supermarket. For a list of the top 10 "lucky" Lunar New Year foods, go here.

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