Having been a Caucasian deeply immersed in the Chinese culture for some thirty years now, (married to a Hong Kong guy), I’ve experienced many a Lunar New Year. However, the different countries and cultures of Asia celebrate in a wide variety of ways, even seasoned CNY veterans can be surprised by some of the festivities they may not be familiar with.
To make things easier for the uninitiated, and even for those who like to get in on the fun every year, I’m offering my top tips on how to celebrate Chinese New Year like a boss:
1) Get a Haircut. Out with the old, as they say. You’ll want to be all shaven & shorn, come New Year’s morn. Clip your nails, while you’re at it.
2) Buy New Clothes. Again, it’s time to start afresh, so be sure to get some new duds to wear to all of the CNY gigs you’ll be invited to. Anything red, or shades of red, will do.
3) Don’t Forget the Unmentionables! Get yourself some nice new, red underthings for the New Year period. Yes, you men as well. (Ok, they don’t have to be red, but isn’t it a little bit more fun?)
4) Clean and Decorate Your Space. This is probably where the whole idea of Spring Cleaning came from. Give everything a good going over, throw out broken furniture, and don’t plan to clean anything in the first days of the New Year, it’s considered “sweeping out the good luck”. Then, hang some lanterns, put fresh spring flowers in vases, your home is good to go.
5) Get Cooking. Just like Christmastime, CNY is a time to share good, homemade food. It doesn’t have to be authentic, just made with love. Also provide lots of snacks such as nuts and seeds, and gold foil-wrapped chocolates, (Almond Roca or Ferrero Roche), that are especially popular in the new year.
6) Stock Up on Booze. It’s a party, isn’t it?
7) Give, (or Get), Red Packets. Ok, you may not know of this tradition, but in most Asian cultures, paper packets containing money are exchanged between parents, (or other adults), and children. Or, they may be presented to elderly relations. They can also be given from boss to subordinates. You can read more about that here, ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_envelope), if you care to join in.
8) Give Oranges. Small oranges, usually offered in pairs, are given to your hosts, to symbolize good luck and fortune in the coming year.
9) Spend Time With Family & Friends. As with any holiday season, it’s time to get together with your crew. Most Asian families will hold a “reunion dinner” during the first days of the Lunar New Year. Then, it’s rounds of visits, and eating, and drinking, and red packets.
10) Know Your Zodiac. Chinese, that is. It’s good to be knowledgeable on which animal you are, what your prospects are for the New Year, and which other zodiac animals you are compatible with. Who knows…that Monkey you meet at the big CNY do could be your perfect match!
To find out more, check this out: https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/
So jump in and celebrate! 🍊🍊
Gong Hei Fa Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!
The Year of the Dog begins Friday, February 16, 2018.
*some images aquired via image bank