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© Emmanuel VIRIN

Chinese New Year

Reunion Island’s Chinese Community Celebrates Year of the Metal Ox

on Friday February 12, 2021.

On Reunion Island, the new year is seen in more than once! After the celebrations of 31st December, it’s already time to start preparing for the Chinese New Year. The date changes from year to year, but the festivities are always held in January or February. They are organised across the island to celebrate this event which is very important for the Chinese community and the people of Reunion as a whole.

A great deal of festivities traditionally mark the Chinese New Year, the dance of the dragon is one of them. The Chinese New Year is a spectacular and festive event that is celebrated pretty much all over the island: dragon parades, lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, dance shows, musical and acrobatic shows and much more.

The Chinese community of Reunion is reviewing the organization of its festivities due to the global health crisis and adapts to the measures set out by the prefect of Reunion. The New Year will be celebrated above all with the family, the lion dance in the shops is postponed and will occur in private, without public and in small groups in certain temples under very strict health control.

Ceremonies, dancing, great food

This celebration is also called the Spring Festival and is the most important traditional Chinese celebration. The Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of the lunar new year and is the biggest ceremony for the Chinese community (around 7,000 families) on Reunion Island. It is a huge celebration, with firecrackers in front of houses and shops, believed to ward off evil spirits.

Houses are thoroughly cleaned before this important day to sweep away ill-fortune and so that there’s nothing left to do on New Year’s Day.

Family members and friends get together to give gifts to ancestors, who are particularly honoured during this celebration. Then a reunion dinner is held and top-quality dishes are believed to bring good luck, each type of dish for luck in a specific area: vegetables represent intelligence, chicken and nuts for health, fried fish, prawn and meat balls for prosperity, round food items represent family unity and noodles represent a long life. The sweet parcels are a sign of a year of good luck and those who find a good luck charm inside them can expect all their wishes to come true.
Lucky envelopes (red packet full of money) are handed out to children.