There is a hustle and bustle in the homes of Chinese families everywhere. Parents shop for groceries, kids pitch in to vacuum and clean the house, all to welcome the year of the dragon.
Excitement mounts as families decide on what traditional dishes are to be served to ring in Chinese New Year's Day on Jan. 23.
It is the most important social gathering and family bonding time of the year.
On that day, family and friends gather around the table with their chopsticks poised to dig in to the sumptuous range of delectable delights.
Each dish has a symbolic meaning: fish means good catches and a good harvest, poultry signifies health and contentment in the home, mushrooms in a dish brings wealth and good fortune, because mushrooms look like ancient Chinese coins.
Meanwhile, vegetables symbolize the coming of spring and a fresh new beginning, while sweets and candies promise joy within families.
Custom has it that the cooking preparations have to be completed before the Chinese New Year's Day, and all the cleaning must be completed on the eve of the New Year.
There are also certain kitchen practices that have to be avoided during these celebrations.
Using any sharp implements on New Year's Day is said to bring bad luck.
All knives, scissors are kept away, tied together with a red ribbon.
No sweeping or cleaning is done because to sweep on New Year's Day means to sweep all the luck and good fortune from the home.
The dragon is coming and this is a very auspicious year. The dragon is the first sign of the Chinese astrological zodiac - the king of the beast.
Most Chinese believe this year would be the year of extremes - extreme good fortune will fall on some and extreme bad fortune will fall on others, businesses will experience swings.
In order to welcome the positive, special care must be taken. In many homes across Richmond, beautiful red decorations adorn the doors and walls to welcome good luck. Red good luck money envelopes will be generously presented.
In honour the year of the dragon, lobsters will be cooked in a variety of ways.
In Chinese, lobsters are called "long har" which literary means dragon crab. Have a great Kong Hee Fatt Choy!