The Lunar New Year, also known as ‘chunjie’ – ‘Spring Festival’ – is China’s biggest and oldest festival. These days China may adhere to the Gregorian calendar, but the lunar calendar still holds huge cultural significance and the turning of the Lunar New Year is a historic event celebrated by millions of people. It also marks the world’s biggest annual migration (pre-Covid times) when an estimated 385 million Chinese people leave major cities to visit family in rural parts of the country.
For 2022, the Lunar New Year begins on Tuesday 1 February, but the festival is actually a 15-day celebration that sees families reunited, gifts exchanged, and dumplings consumed in abundance.
Speaking of gifts, traditionally ‘lucky’ red envelopes (known as ‘hóngbāo’) filled with money are exchanged. In recent years, luxury goods brands have started making seasonal limited-edition gifts that incorporate auspicious red and zodiac animal-inspired designs. In Chinese culture, a person’s zodiac sign plays an integral role in their personality, fortune, and even career and relationship prospects. Those born in this year’s zodiac sign – the tiger – are said to be brave, confident, independent and adventurous. Famous tigers (so to speak) include Tom Cruise, Lady Gaga and HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
If you’re planning to buy a gift in the lead-up to Lunar New Year, The Royal Exchange has plenty of ideas to help you join in the celebrations.
Fortnum & Mason
Why not push the boat out with The Lunar New Year gift box or special-edition Lunar New Year hamper from Fortnum & Mason. These exquisite gift sets both include Fortnum’s popular non-alcoholic sparkling tea, and the hamper includes the Lunar New Year biscuit selection, featuring a charming illustration of a tiger. The Lunar New Year gift box, £68 and Lunar New Year hamper, £150; available from Fortnums
Aspinal of London
Speaking of “charming”, we can’t get enough of this full-grain leather Chinese New Year charm from Aspinal of London, which will add a fierce touch to your bag, purse or keys. Aspinal has also unveiled a ravishing red tiger print scarf, handcrafted in Italy from pure silk twill. Chinese New Year charm, £45 and tiger silk scarf, £140; available from Aspinal of London
Delicate and pretty as a picture, macarons always make a welcome gift. The limited-edition new boxes from French patisserie Ladurée, presented in an auspicious red box and decorated with gold embossed patterns, are pure joy. Chinese New Year box of 8 macarons, £22.50; available in-store at Ladurée at The Royal Exchange
If you really want to show the world you’re born in the Year of the Tiger, these fun cufflinks from Tateossian – complete with orange crystal eyes – will certainly do the job. If you prefer a more subtle nod to your zodiac sign, Tateossian’s tiger’s eye bead bracelets, made from hand-polished rhodium-plated sterling silver discs, are stylish and vibrant. Tiger mechanical cufflinks with orange Swarovski elements, £225; Classic Discs bracelet with tiger eye and sterling silver, from £189, available at Tateossian
Watchfinder & Co.
Premium second-hand watch specialists Watchfinder & Co. stock a wide selection of luxury timepieces. This month, Watchfinder & Co. have selected designer watches that represent the traits of the tiger in a timeless and subtle way. Our pick from their selection is the Panerai Luminor Marina PAM01117 with its limited-edition blue face – a lucky colour for those born in the Year of the Tiger. £15,995; shop the range at Watchfinder & Co. at The Royal Exchange
Chinese New Year could be a time to reflect or plan everything that’s to come over the next 12 months. Basically, any excuse to splash out on this gorgeous notebook and limited-edition fountain pen by Montblanc, which both feature a striking depiction of the mighty tiger. The luxury goods and stationery brand has plenty of Lunar New Year related gifts, from auspicious red headphones to plush leather chest bags, so head down to The Royal Exchange to discover the whole range.
The Legend of Zodiacs, The Tiger Notebook in Red (small), £70, The Legend of Zodiacs The Tiger Limited-Edition Fountain Pen, £4,700, all available at Montblanc