Fête Chinoise was created to bridge the gap between traditional customs and the modern way of celebration. In its second year, Fête Chinoise has already become a prominent event in the wedding and event planning community. According to Jimmy Yu, a committee member, it’s a “museum-like experience showcasing the traditions and celebrations of the overlooked culture of the modern Chinese”. Presented against the luxurious backdrop of the Shangri-La Hotel, Fête Chinoise highlights the rich and vibrant celebrations of the modern Chinese community. A diamond-studded cast of vendors transformed each space into a modern day interpretation of a traditional Chinese celebration. From celebrating the birth of a newborn to a wedding fit for an empress, the detailed event stylings marry traditional motifs with an upscale modern feel.
Here is a glimpse of some of the modern celebrations showcased at Fête Chinoise:
Newborn’s 100th Day Banquet
A baby’s 100th day celebration is an opportunity for the parents to introduce their newborn to their friends and family. Traditional elements include a dyed red egg, used to tell the grandmother the gender of the baby; and ginger-marinated pork hock, stewed for the mother to recover after giving birth.
Chinese New Year
Similar to the New Year of western traditions, Chinese New Year is all about renewal – out with the old and in with the new! Chinese New Year is typically celebrated with a traditional family dinner. Children wish their elders good health and in return, they receive a red pocket (a red envelope with money) that is intended to bring good fortune and guard against evil spirits.
The traditional lion dance is performed during Chinese New Year or during any big occasion such as grand openings or milestone birthdays. The lion is believed to bring good luck and fortune. In ancient China, the lion dance would travel from store to store bringing good luck (and a big crowd).
Winter Solstice Dinner
It is traditional to have a feast – traditionally of dumplings and noodles – in preparation for winter. She Said Spectacular and Flori Floral teamed up to design a glamorous dining area complete with gradients of blooming purple flowers, gold accents and a poem written in calligraphy around the perimeter of the room.
In celebration of a birthday, Kim Miyama Events and Artam Designs put together a lavish dinner table with a peach tree centerpiece – bearing the fruit used to symbolize longevity in Chinese culture. Similarly, peach-shaped buns are served in place of the usual birthday cake.
A Chinese wedding is often a daylong event spanning from the morning tea ceremony well into the evening reception. One Fine Day Event Planning & Design Inc designed a lavish wedding ceremony complete with a four-poster floral archway lit by the iridescent light of the candles and chandeliers in the Shangri-La ballroom.
The wedding tea ceremony is a century-old wedding custom deeply rooted in the Chinese values of respect. Serving tea at a wedding is used to acknowledge your new elders. Inspired by the tea theme, luxury earl grey infused Champagne and roasted green tea were served to guests.
Very often cultural celebrations are overlooked as our lifestyles evolve. Through attending Fête Chinoise, it became evident that traditional celebrations hold centuries of depth and meaning that connect us to our heritage. Customs that once appeared to be tedious rituals of the past are actually deeply rooted in the cultural values of respect.
Thank you, Fête Chinoise and Palettera for this elegant reminder of our heritage and for uncovering what it truly means to be Chinese-Canadian.
For more information about Fête Chinoise:
Photos by James Shay
Also check out the inaugural Fete Chinoise in 2015.