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• Feb 1, 2019

Sharing a meal with family members during the Lunar New Year is one of Bill Leung's favorite memories. For the past decade, those happy times have included members of his TD Bank family.

"I cherish the memories of those dinners," said Bill, who is a TD Store Manager for the bank's Chinatown location. At the TD store, we "will wear red, take pictures and have fun. Our TD family also shares a special meal together."

The Chinatown store is among the 19 participating TD stores in the New York area that will host events for the Lunar New Year. The 10-day celebration starts on February 5th when the Year of the Pig begins. Each Lunar New Year is designated to one of 12 zodiac signs on a rotating basis.

The Year of the Pig signifies "good luck and being truthful," Bill said. "People born in this year are honest, generous individuals."

Dragons and Red Envelopes

The TD in-store festivities include the distribution of red money envelopes – seen as good fortune symbols and green grocery bags. Other events held in conjunction with the Lunar New Year at TD stores include cultural performances and workshops.

A popular activity for TD customers and employees is the traditional Dragon Dance to commemorate the end of maladies from the previous year and start of a fresh new year. The dragon usually appears at the TD store in Chinatown twice during the 10-day celebration, on the first day of the New Year and then before the famous Chinatown parade.

"There are dragons throughout the streets of Chinatown," Bill explained. "There is a Dragon Dance throughout the store. The dragon comes in to scare away spirits."

TD stores also have observed the tradition of giving out red envelopes to customers since 2005 with different designs each year. Bill cited the traditional beliefs that red signifies good luck and happiness, and putting in new money into the envelopes to represent a new start.

It turns out these red envelopes have become collector items for many customers. Other customers use the envelopes for different purposes, such as creating origami sailboats.

While many things have changed over the years for the Lunar New Year celebration such as current restrictions on fireworks, it still creates the same joyous feeling for Bill.

During those 10 days, everyone is friendlier to each other, he said. "It's so wonderful to see people smiling."

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