THE IN-TRAY

How MECCA insiders celebrate Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, begins on February 5, ushering in the year of the Pig.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Pig attracts success in all spheres of life, making 2019 a particularly good time to invest in something you want to see real results in … like your beauty routine. To mark the auspicious occasion, several of our favourite brands have released limited-edition products, like M·A·C’s red-tipped powder brush or Glamglow’s revolutionary lifting mask gilded in lucky gold. We asked MECCA insiders how they’ll be celebrating this year, what they’ll be gifting and to explain the red envelope tradition.

JENNY HSU, ECOMMERCE PRODUCT MANAGER

What are your Lunar New Year plans?
“My dad has three siblings and in past years on Chinese New Year’s Eve, we would all gather at my grandparent’s place for a big family feast. My parents and grandparents would spend the whole day preparing it. Each year there would be numerous dishes and they all have different symbolic meaning: fish means increased prosperity, while noodles represent happiness and longevity. This year it will be a little different. My family and I are visiting my home town in Taiwan to see our extended family, but there will still be lots of food.”

What’s your favourite thing about Lunar New Year?
“The endless feasts, the games, the celebrations—really just spending time with family and loved ones. After Lunar New Year there are always big sales in shopping centres, which also makes it the best time to go shopping in Asia!”

What will you be gifting?
“Even though it’s not a new year’s tradition, when I visit Taiwan I always gift something to my grandma. She loves fragrance, so I will either get her the Jo Malone London Spirited and Flirtatious Duo or Portrait of a Lady EDP. One of the other gifting traditions of Lunar New Year is red envelopes, which always contain some money (very practical), so she can spoil herself with what she really wants.”

And what would you like you receive?
“I’ve been eyeing the Altaia Purple Land EDP. It would be nice to start the new year with a new scent! I’ll also be inclined to buy a Sonos One Smart Speaker. If I don’t get given it, I might pick it up in the sales.”

REBECCA KO, GRAPHIC DESIGNER

What are your Lunar New Year plans?
“I plan to celebrate by eating … a lot. We head over to our aunt and uncle’s every year for a massive feast that our grandma prepares. We love a bit of symbolism in Chinese culture, so there are always a few key dishes on the table: steamed fish symbolising wealth, noodles symbolising longevity, and a Malaysian prosperity salad—which, you guessed it, symbolises prosperity!”

What’s your favourite thing about Lunar New Year?
“The food and being together with family, but mainly the food. It’s rare to get everyone around the same table during the year, so it’s even more special over Lunar New Year to sit down with all my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents to share a meal and have a laugh.”

What will you be gifting?
“As an unmarried, young person it’s not expected that I’ll give any gifts, but Mum’s always preparing and cleaning for days before Lunar New Year, so I’ll definitely have to pick up a Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask to help her destress! And maybe some orchids or peonies to help freshen up the house.”

And what would you like you receive?
“I’ll be very gratefully receiving red envelopes.”

ELYSHA PNG, ASSISTANT BRAND MANAGER

What are your Lunar New Year plans?
“We don’t have immediate family in Melbourne, so we will celebrate with our family friends. We usually host a house party and have a pot luck. Some of the dishes we eat are lo hei. It’s a Singaporean raw fish salad and, when we serve it, everyone grabs a pair of chopsticks and stands in a circle to mix it together to add in good luck. We also have nian gao (sticky glutinous cakes) and tang yuan (sweet dumplings).

What’s your favourite thing about Lunar New Year?
“For my parents, it’s a far more significant holiday than the calendar New Year (they often fall asleep before the fireworks on TV), so it is really fun to see them get super excited and celebrate with our friends and family. It’s lovely that everyone gets together to celebrate and shower well wishes on each other.”

What will you be gifting?
“The Jo Malone London Orange Blossom Candle would be my choice for a gift. Everybody loves a great smelling home when people come to visit and we often have fruits like oranges and mandarins served after dinner during these gatherings. A cooking set would also be a great gift since we love a good feast together!”

And what would you like you receive?
“Even better than the food, the non-married people in the group get to receive ang bao (red packets with money in them) from the married people, which is always a fun treat.”

HANNIE CHOI, CRM COORDINATOR

What are your Lunar New Year plans?
“I’m travelling back to Hong Kong to see my family and friends. There will be lots of eating! We always have the traditional Chinese New Year sweets and cakes, like nian gao (a sticky rice cake). Families always put together a Chinese candy box at their homes, filled with dried fruits, chocolate, lollies and seeds. Yum!”

What’s your favourite thing about Lunar New Year?
“This is the time of year when our whole extended family comes home to be together. I love that I get to see everyone.”

What will you be gifting?
“I’d like to take home a Diptyque Tubéreuse Rouge Candle in the red packaging, because it looks festive and smells amazing. I’ll also load up on boxes of abalone noodles.”

And what would you like you receive?
“Red packets!”

Words by Alexandra Whiting
January 2019

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