There are many traditional customs around Chinese New Year. Living in the multi-cultural society that we do, hosting a get-together at Chinese New Year is a great way of spending time with all family and friends. But what customs can you bring to your party, and which new ones can you introduce?
How to Celebrate Chinese New Year
It is a festival that is all about delicious food, noise and enjoyment. As well as decorating your home and welcoming family and friends to see in the new year. According to Chinese astrology, 2018 is the Year of the Dog, so let’s see how to make your party go out with a bang.
Hand Out Money!
In some ways, this traditional Chinese New Year custom is no different to the gifts that we give out at Christmas. The financial gift does not have to be big but a token gesture. There are, however, some things of which you need to be aware;
- ALWAYS give an even amount – a gift of £2 will bring luck in the year of the dog over and above a five-pound note for example.
- Stay away from unlucky numbers – take care with the amount too as in Chinese culture there are many meanings attached to numbers and the luck or ill wind they can bring you. Steer clear of four, for example, choosing a number instead that has positive impacts.
- Use red envelopes – red is a strong colour in Chinese culture and so either buy or make your own red envelopes for the small pockets of money to give out to your younger guests. Mark the envelopes with Chinese symbols.
This giving of money is known as “Lai See” and is an important part of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Enjoy Chinese Food
Some Chinese restaurants will open for a party at this time of year. But don’t be surprised if your local take away is shut for a few days as it is an important festival.
As well as shop-bought or restaurant Chinese food, you can always have a go at making your own Chinese buffet or meal.
Why not try one or two Chinese recipes? Simple, easy and quick to make, they are delicious too – supplementing the buffet table with all kinds of amazing party foods.
Whether you serve an all-Chinese buffet or a mix of dishes, make sure you include noodles as this signifies a long life, perfect for the Chinese festival that rings in the new year.
Make Some Noise!
You may have noticed that most Chinese festivals, the new year one too, are celebrated using plenty of noise. In the UK, this can be anything from letting off fireworks to banging a drum. However, you will need to aware of any local by-laws relating to fireworks.
If nothing else, have a tambourine on hand so that as you welcome in the new year according to the Chinese calendar you ward off the demons and evil spirits that can lurk around us.
Encourage children to be part of it with plenty of drum banging. If you don’t want to or can’t organise your own firework display, get the children to create a bright and colourful display using glitter.
With our range of fantastic party supplies, you won’t be short on ideas for decorating your party venue. But make sure you decorate it along Chinese customs and that means plenty of bright red, gold and orange.
Include dragons, lanterns and tangerines dotted about the place, all important symbols in Chinese culture. If you really want to get in the spirit, you could paint a door red too. This is an important symbol commonly seen in many homes and businesses. Not just in China, but here in the UK too.
Red, gold and orange are all colours that symbolise happiness and wealth, two things that we all surely covet for the year ahead.
Create Your Own Dragon
Red and gold make for fantastic vibrant costumes. You may have seen the traditional dragon dance that is often performed at important, auspicious events. Using music created by drums and chimes, the team under the dragon create an amazing display. In some cities, the dragon will be used for a public display or parade.
The dragon in China symbolises power, wealth and wisdom. You could attempt to recreate your own dragon dance or if not, make sure you have the dragon symbol prominent in your party.
Why don’t you join in with the celebrations this year?